Broken water main unleashes wall of water at Fort Worth home

Posted Wednesday, Jun. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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FORT WORTH An estimated 60-70 people were expected to be without water for about five hours Tuesday evening after a 10-inch water main burst in southwest Fort Worth, but Ann Patrick was without a home.

A mammoth wall of water was unleashed at about 6 p.m. from the street in front of Patrick’s home in the 3600 block of Walton Avenue.

It "went airborne," said Hilda Zuniga, spokeswoman for the city's water department.

And it went so high that water traveled over the top of Patrick's single-level home and poured into her backyard.

Torrents of water also pierced the roof and collapsed the ceiling. Water rushed between the walls, and soon, Patrick’s home of 42 years was inundated.

Patrick said she had been worried about her twin sister in the hospital, and she hoped to relax Tuesday evening watching her beloved Texas Rangers play the New York Yankees.

She was talking to a friend on the phone, giving an update on her sister, when she started hearing a popping noise.

Patrick rushed into her backyard where she was met by a tremendous downpour.

"It was so strong, I thought it would knock me over," she said. "I went back inside, but by then, my hallway was filled with water."

Repair crews stopped the flood by shutting off water in the area. Then they got busy fixing the break, which was down in a crater that formed in the street in front of Patrick's home.

The house looked like it had been hit by tornado. Roofing shingles were scattered about, pavement was buckled and mud filled the front yard and driveway.

Patrick praised city firefighters who helped her salvage baseball memorabilia from her "Rangers" room.

But at 9 p.m. it was unclear what caused the break.

"Hard to say," Zuniga said. "Sometimes pipes get old. Sometimes there is movement in the earth. This will all be part of our evaluation."

Patrick said she was upset when a member of the repair crew said the city was not to blame for the burst.

“That kind of made me mad,” she said.

“Actually that’s true,” said Mary Gugliuzza, another spokeswoman for the water department. “Under state law there is no liability on our part, but risk management will work with her.

“I can’t tell you what the outcome will be.”

Bill Miller, 817-390-7684 Twitter: @Bill_MillerST

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