Broken Water Main Covers Md. Community With Water

The 72-inch main is part of Baltimore's water system

By Matthew Stabley
|  Saturday, Sep 19, 2009  |  Updated 11:49 AM EDT
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A <a title=Baltimore County community is covered in water following a water main break." />

A Baltimore County community is covered in water following a water main break.

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Dundalk, Md. -- The Red Cross is stepping in to help hundreds of families whose homes were flooded when a massive water main broke in a suburb of Baltimore Friday.

The broken water main caused flooding in the area of Dundalk Avenue, WBAL-TV reported. Water flowed over several blocks beginning at about 4 p.m., rising as high as residents' chests and near the tops of cars in some spots. Several roads were closed and many residents lost power.

The job now is to get people back into their homes, according to Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith.

"The danger's over. The crisis is over. And now, is the job which we're all ready to do.. to get people back," he said.

Fire, police, divers and swift water rescue teams assisted people in the area, rescuing a few who went into the water. No injuries were reported.

The 72-inch main is part of Baltimore's water system, said Curt Kocher, of Baltimore City Public Works.

"Baltimore City provides water to Baltimore County," he said.

Most of the flow to the main was stopped at about 6:30 p.m., but crews were still working to shut off secondary valves Friday night.

Baltimore County police spokesman Bill Toohey said officers would patrol the area overnight because of the power outages and residents unable to get to their homes.

Baltimore Gas & Electric spokesman Rob Gould said the flooding cut power to several hundred customers but did not appear to have damaged any gas mains.

Rick Abbruzzese, a spokesman for Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, said the Maryland Emergency Management Agency was monitoring the situation.

"The state will obviously be assisting in cleanup," Abbruzzese said.

The state would assist families with property damage, similar to aid offered after Tropical Storm Isabel damaged homes in 2003, also in eastern Baltimore County, the spokesman said.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., issued a statement Friday evening calling the break a disaster. Mikulski said she had contacted Smith about "working together to meet the immediate needs of the families and businesses of Dundalk as well as the long range problems caused by our aging infrastructure."

The break is the latest of many in Baltimore County this year, Kocher said.  

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