Boston

Major Water Main Break Floods Jamaica Plain Homes Near VA, Residents Evacuated

The Boston Fire Department deployed a high water rescue vehicle and firefighters in rescue suits to check on residents for evacuation

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A major water main break flooded several streets in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood Saturday morning, sending water cascading down stairs and bringing out first responders to evacuate residents.

Boston Water and Sewer have shut off water from the break in the 36-inch main, which took place about 3 a.m. near the Jamaica Plain VA Medical Center. The water rushed down Heath Street for several hours, shutting down side streets including Round Hill, Mindon and Gay Head streets.

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"It looks like I’m going on a hike in the White Mountains" said one spectator of the flooding. "It’s just like a waterfall, but instead of the beautiful trees and everything, it’s an elementary school. And water's rushing down the steps.”

Several basements in the area were flooded with about five feet of water, fire officials said. Gas and electric service was also cut off from several homes in the area due to safety concerns.  

The Boston Fire Department deployed a high water rescue vehicle and firefighters in rescue suits to check on residents for evacuation.

The force of the broken water buckled pavement on Heath Street.

Boston Fire Chief Pat Nichols said that part of the problem was the sheer size of the water main. It’s so big that it was hard to shut down without affecting other places, including nearby hospitals, like New England Baptist.

He also said the broken water main was affecting water service to people in the larger area.

“It’s so large and pretty close to the hospital areas, so they’re concerned about minimizing or even shutting off the water to the hospitals. It’s such a large main that people across the city -- specifically, I’ve been told, people in Beacon Hill, because this is such a large main,” Nichols said.

Boston authorities are responding to a major water main break in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston on Saturday morning.

The major water main break coincidentally happened on Nichols' last day on the job. Nichols is retiring after working as a firefighter for 37 years.

In an interview with NBC 10 Boston, Nichols said he will miss the camaraderie of his crew, and the ability to help people the most in his retirement.

"It's a family," said Nichols. "I leave one family and come to another."

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