School closed, homes damaged and businesses wrecked: Flood clean-up after burst main chaos
A huge clean-up operation is under way today after a burst water main caused severe flooding - damaging homes, businesses and a school.
Around 20 homes and businesses were hit including one house which partially collapsed due to the force of the water yesterday.
Tipton Green Junior School is closed today after Park Lane West and surrounding roads were flooded by the torrent which shot 20ft into the air.
It is thought the school was closed after damage was caused to the ground floor.
Pupils had to be evacuated alongside students and staff from nearby Silvertrees Academy after the main burst at around 2pm.
A newsagents was also flooded with the shop owner left counting the costs of the damage.
People had to stay in hotels overnight after some were rescued by around 30 firefighters who attended from stations from across the Black Country.
WATCH how flood waters wreaked havoc
Park Lane West remained closed today while debris including bricks was being cleared from the road.
Officials warned of further disruption after engineers from South Staffs Water worked through the night to fix the burst.
It remains unclear was caused the burst but an investigation is under way.
Kevin Watkins, from South Staffs Water, said up to 20 team members were the scene overnight.
"This is one of the worst [burst water mains] that I have seen for damage to property in my career," he told Radio WM.
"It is the impact on the customers. The repairs are the easy part, we can do that quite quickly and as you can see we have worked through the night.
"It is the aftermath. We are in the process of repairing the main to ensure supplies are restored."
Describing the damage to the one house, he added: "It is the gable end of the property.
"The property has been added onto an existing house and the force of the water has just taken the side off the building.
"The house has been inspected by structural engineers and there has been some repair work to make it safe for our workers. As for the long term picture I don't know at this point."
Mr Watkins said he believes engineers will be on-site for around a week making repairs due to the damage to the road.
South Staffs Water's Pete Aspley says work to relaid the road surface will take the rest of this week.
"We are continuing to contact the local people affected and our customer support vehicle will be in available for anyone who needs to talk to us," he said.
"We will carry out a full investigation to find out why the water main burst, but in the meantime our focus is to support our customers and to get the repairs completed.
"We’re really sorry for any distress that this has caused."
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