Burst pipe floods three floors of south London high rise
Published Wednesday, July 10, 2019 9:03AM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, July 10, 2019 4:52PM EDT
Emergency crews were called to a high rise in south London early Wednesday for a flood due to a burst pipe.
Fire officials say the third floor to the basement of 940 Commissioners Road East flooded after a stand pipe burst. A stand pipe is one of the main feeder pipes for the sprinkler system.
Resident Racheal Almeida describes the scene, "Honestly it reminded me of the Titanic, just the water gushing down the stairs. It was a little scary...I'm right beside the stairwell and I could hear some noise. I opened up that door and I saw some water gushing and at that point I knew, I can't get out."
The water was quickly shut off, and fire crews on scene began assisting in the evacuation of the 14-storey building as power had to be cut as a precaution.
London fire Platoon Chief Shawn Fitzgerald says, "It's gone through the elevator shafts. We've had to shut down the power because of the water damage, the water entry into the electrical systems. The elevator is going to have to be inspected before it can be put back in service."
One man who suffered a cardiac event on the eighth floor was carried down by fire crews, otherwise there were no injuries as a result of the flooding.
Residents were asked to find another place to stay for at least a few hours while the building was assessed by fire crews and the Electrical Safety Authority.
Two LTC buses were brought in for those who needed to be evacuated to a cooling centre at Carling Heights Community Centre.
By late Wednesday afternoon though, police said residents of the most heavily damaged units were likely to be displaced for an undetermined amount of time, while others were expected to be able to return late Wednesday evening.
Kyle Rivard, building co-manager, says everyone evacuated in a timely and orderly manner, with residents helping each other down the stairs.
"They responded really well. They came down the stairwell in an orderly fashion. And any of the older people that needed help. You seen people instantly grab them, give them help down the stairs."
Police are investigating the possibility the incident is suspicious after rumours that the pipe may have been damaged intentionally.
London police Const. Sandasha Bough says, "The damage does appear to be suspicious in nature and London police continues to investigate. We're asking if anybody has any information at all, please give us a call."