40ft geyser as burst pipe leaves 50 Blackburn homes dry
FIFTY Blackburn homes were left without water after a damaged main sprung a leak — causing a spectacular 40ft geyser.
Residents said they were shocked to see thousands of gallons of water spurting out of the ground, higher than neighbouring properties, after gas contractors disturbed the water main in Pinewood, in the Feniscowles.
Engineers battled for more than three hours, after the powerful water leak erupted shortly after 3.15pm yesterday, to maintain the water supply to local properties.
But shortly after 5.30pm, 50 houses nearest the leak at the junction with Beardwood Drive lost their water for an hour, so the pipe could be fixed.
April Tomlinson, 52, of Pinewood, said: “It was such a shock to see the water spurting out of the ground just as I was about to leave my house.
“Initially, I thought it was raining.
“This work has been going on for ages, we haven’t been able to get in the drive for weeks, but I can see the engineers are working hard to fix it.
”It is an amazing sight though, it’s not something you see everyday.”
Fellow resident, Janet Ashbridge, 38, said: “I got a call from a friend who lives 10 houses away, who said I had better get home from work as water was spurting out of my house.
“But when I got here it had happened outside nextdoor’s property.”
Contractors from Balfour Beatty working at the site, said the problem had occurred while they were carrying out gas works on behalf of National Grid.
A spokesman for Balfour Beatty said: “It was not a burst watermain. It was a problem with an old asbestos pipe. There are no straps on the old pipes and when you are working near them they can often pop out of place, and water pours out like this.
“Engineers reduced the water pressure for a short time so the pipe could be realigned and then fitted with a strap to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Local school pupils were forced to run through the freezing cold water which sprayed from one side of the road to another, as they made their way home from school.
Sheila Douglas’ house was directly in the path of the spray.
The 65-year-old of Beardwood Drive, said: “I was just looking at the window when I noticed the water. I said to my husband ‘God it’s raining hard’. When I got up for a closer look I couldn’t believe my eyes.
“The water was completely covering my garden. It was a shame it didn’t need watering.”
Neighbour Beryl Entwistle, added: “It added a bit of excitement to my day. It is the first time I’ve seen a geyser like this.
“It’s quite novel. I feel for the workmen getting wet, as that water must be freezing.”
All residents affected by the incident had their water supply reinstated shortly after 6.30pm.
A number of local businesses, including the Holly Tree chip shop, were not affected by the incident.
A spokesman for United Utilities, said: “It looks like a water pipe has been damaged accidentally by workmen carrying out work on behalf of another company.
“A small service pipe has been knocked off, cutting off the water to one property and causing a jet of water into the air.
“We had to shut the water main down for an hour while we fixed the problem, meaning 50 nearby homes were temporarily off supply.
“We'did our best to keep residents informed and we had everything restored by about 6.30pm. Whatever the cause, we're very sorry for any disruption.”
A spokesman for National Grid said: “A ferrule (a fitting which secures pipe joint) was accidentally knocked off by a contractor carrying out gas mains replacement work. We apologise for any inconvenience this incident caused.”