Firefighters defend substation with makeshift barrier after water main bursts in Bracknell

Published: 6 Mar 2014 15:300 comments

Firefighters used a makeshift barrier to protect an electrical substation from the 'bubbling’ torrent of water.

Firefighters used a makeshift barrier to protect an electrical substation from the 'bubbling’ torrent of water.

A 16” water main burst in the early hours of this morning, wreaking havoc as roads were closed and the water supply was effected.

Around 30 homes were flooded as a rupture in the pipe underground spewed gushes of water around Hanworth, Birch Hill and Ringmead.

Fire engines from four different stations, Bracknell, Wokingham, Crowthorne and Surrey, used hand held pumps to stave off water from seeping into the electrical substation near Great Hollands.

Station Manager Tregear Thomas, from Wokingham fire station, said: “Unfortunately the water from that did affect a number of properties over a wide area. There was a substation that was at risk from the flood water, which we managed to pump away so it didn’t impact on the electricity

“The water broad were able to turn off the main but this wasn’t for at least 45 minutes to an hour. The water was coming up out of the ground, when the main had cracked underground, when it has a fracture, water finds its way to the surface with such force, it was under a lot of pressure.

“The water wasn’t shooting up in a jet into the air, but a large volume of water was bubbling up from the grass verge on the side of the road. The amount of water was significant so as we were walking through the water we had to make sure we were careful.”

“We had four portable pumps and we made use of other bits to stem the flow of water, we made use of what we had, making a barrier. We did go into people’s homes to assist clearing some of the flood water.”

The police were on the scene in the early hours, directing traffic.

Station manager Mark Baker, from Maidenhead, was in charge of the operation today, and said: “When it blew it threw up bits of concrete into the road, because there was massive pressure.

“When it blew out onto the road quite a lot of soil has been thrown up as well. It was a hole big enough to drive a small car through. The water board has been digging it up.”

Bracknell Forest Council had around five members of staff from the landscaping team delivering sandbags, and crews from the highway team at Ringway assisting in clearing up the silt and soil from the road.

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