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Wednesbury flood: Water levels drop as emergency work continues

By Harry Leather | Wednesbury | News | Published:

Around 10 million litres of water flooded roads after a pipe burst during roadworks.

Emergency services in Wednesbury where a water main burst after being damaged during roadworks

A woman had to be rescued and cars were left under water after a burst water main flooded a Black Country road.

The water is now receding but Leabrook Road North in Wednesbury remains flooded after the pipe was damaged at around 10am.

Nearby gardens, homes and businesses have all been affected and a stretch of Black Country New Road is expected to stay closed for days after water spread over the route.

Key points:

A still from footage taken by Dave Baldwin not long after the pipe burst

The pipe is believed to have been damaged by a mini digger during work by Western Power to install a new electricity cable.

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Six fire engines and around 60 firefighters - including specialist water rescue teams - have been at the scene, where one woman was rescued from a house and another man suffered a broken wrist after falling down a hole.

Firefighters are now pumping around 4,000 litres of water per minute away from the flood, as twelve homes remain without electricity and drivers return to assess the scale of damage to their submerged vehicles.

South Staffordshire Water estimated around 10 million litres - or the equivalent of four Olympic-sized swimming pools - of water escaped from the pipe.

WATCH: Footage of the flood taken by Dave Baldwin

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Torrent of water floods road after main burst in Wednesbury

Video taken at the flood shows water gushing out of the pipe outside Lea Brook Methodist Church as several cars float in the water.

A mini digger with its tracks submerged can be seen next to the church, while a JCB appears to be attempting to push water down the road.

Water rescue teams from the fire service

The flood is on Leabrook Road North, which branches off Leabrook Road near Black Country New Road and leads to Wednesbury Parkway car park - some of which is also under water. Leabrook Road is cordoned off from Parkway Roundabout.

Police and paramedics are still on site, where the flood water was as high as 9ft (3m) in places but is now receding as emergency services pump water away.

Seventeen cars stranded in the flood were searched by firefighters but were all found to be empty, while an electrical substation was also checked and isolated.

Emergency oxygen

Sharon Garner, aged 46, is a carer for and lives with her 64-year-old mum, Pearl Harrison.

Sharon said: "The drive is completely wrecked. The water came right up to the front door and now all the slabs are out of place. I rushed to move everything out of the corridor in case it got into the house.

"My mother has COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and angina. The electric has gone off but she needs her nebuliser four times a day. We are on the emergency oxygen.

"She cannot go anywhere because she needs an electric scooter and I cannot leave because I am her carer.

"I normally pick up my granddaughter from school but could not do that today. My daughter was phoning constantly she was so worried.

"I managed to get in my car just in time to move it to another road and out of the way.

"We had a text saying the electricity would be back on at 8pm. What am I going to do until then? How am I going to do the washing?"

Firefighters pump flood water away. Photo: Sheldon Fire

A Midland Metro spokesman warned passengers not to attempt to park at the tram station as a result of the flood, while National Express is diverting its number 11 and number 13 buses.

Meanwhile the car park at Stearn Electric, which backs on to Leabrook Road North, was completely flooded and staff had to move to the first floor of their building.

Interactive map of the area:

Houses, schools and businesses as far away as Darlaston were left with either no water or low pressure until around 2pm, with pupils at Old Park, St Mary's and Ocker Hill primary schools all sent home as a result.

The water supply has now been restored to all premises but some may be receiving murky and discoloured water, South Staffordshire Water said.

How the road normally looks. Photo: Google

Shocked Wednesbury North ward councillor Elaine Costigan said: "It was honestly horrendous, I went through there earlier and couldn't quite believe it.

"It was huge - there was so much water, it was maybe about 3ft high.

"The water was just gushing out and people have said the water supply has been shut off to quite a few homes in Wednesbury."

Wednesbury Parkway Midland Metro car park is partly under water

A Western Power spokesman said: "We are currently working in the area to install a new electricity cable. Unfortunately a water pipe has been damaged as part of this work.

"We have isolated supply at the local substation on the request of the fire service. Currently 12 properties are without power. We will restore supplies once water levels have subsided."

Alan Caddick, director of housing and communities at Sandwell Council, said: “We have been supporting emergency services and South Staffs Water at the scene of today’s flooding in Wednesbury caused by a burst water main.

“We have helped with road closures, putting a rest centre on standby in case it’s needed and providing general support.

“We are now helping the emergency services and South Staffs Water with the recovery operation, including having social workers and housing officers on site to help any residents who need support.”

A South Staffordshire Water spokesman added: “We are really sorry for any inconvenience caused.

"We are working to fix the burst as quickly as possible and would like to thank residents, businesses and motorists for their patience, while we get it fixed.”

Harry Leather

By Harry Leather
Digital Journalist - @hleather_star

Digital journalist covering breaking news across the region from the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton.

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