A geyser from a broken water main pounded townhomes in Gaithersburg, Maryland, Thursday evening.
The main broke about 7 p.m. and blew out the windows of townhomes on Brassie Way.
Firefighters evacuated several units, and three are considered unsafe to inhabit. Those residents are being helped by Red Cross. The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission said it is assisting two of those families, including offering help with the insurance claim process.
Nobody was injured.
The break created a huge hole filled with water in the parking lot.
WSSC is working to repair the water main.
WSSC said wear and tear on an 8-inch cast iron pipe that's been in the ground for almost half a century is to blame.
"I didn't know what to think,” displaced resident Saul Loza said. “I was just thankful my family got out."
Loza’s family is one of the three that have been displaced. As cleanup crews worked inside his home Friday, he tried to help his neighbors, the Guillen family, who’ve lived there for 20 years and whose home is likely a total loss.
“They are experiencing some trauma, I guess,” Loza said. “I mean, they won’t stop talking about it. My kids as well. For kids especially, it’s a very traumatic experience.”
WSSC had been in the area Tuesday to fix another break. WSSC said each pipe that malfunctioned this week is 48 years old, but WSSC spokesperson Ayoka Blandford said the scope of Thursday’s damage is a rarity.
“We’re conducting forensics, which is typical just for us to gather any other info to understand if there is any other reason other than age,” she said.
Blandford said WSSC will continue to monitor the situation but is not overly concerned it will happen again.