Chapter 4

Water Leaks

"It was nine o'clock on a cold November night in New York City, and we were responding toa call for a water leak in the street. As we rounded the corner and approached the location, we weren't prepared for what we saw. A river of water was gushing across Fifth Avenue at 97th Street and cascading down into the basements of several apartment buildings in its path. As I watched in amazement, a garbage pail floated past. Our lieutenant, realizing the potential hazards that this situation presented, immediately called for help.

The water was coming from Central Park. The only source that could supply such a volume was the reservoir located in the center of the park. A large pipe must have failed. There were five of on the ladder truck, inaddition to the lieutenant. He dispatched two of us into the park to locate the source of the leak and to search for people possibly trapped in their cars. Cutting through a hilly section of the park, 97th Street was creating a makeshift canal for the escaping water. Walking along the higher ground, we came to a depression in the road where the water had formed a small lake. In it, several cars were stranded, the water up to their windows. The drivers stood on the opposite side of the roadway, watching as the water levelrose on their cars. Dripping wet, they had all exited their vehicles and scrambled to safety. We notified our officer of their presence and continued to search for the source of the leak. By now, other units were arriving on the scene, and we had plenty of help.

Back on Fifth Avenue, the arriving chief ordered firefighters to check the cellars of all the involved buildings for trapped occupants, as well as any potential hazards caused by the flooding. Others of us, meanwhile, were ordered to check the interiors of the flooded vehicles. Doing so involved wading waist deep into the flood and groping around inside the cars. Luckily, none of us found anyone in distress.

If the water were to continue to rise in the cellars, the electrical service of the various buildings would be affected. The chief had already put out a call to the water department and the electric company for assistance..........."

Chapter Four discusses the hazards associated with leaking water, the various emergencies and water related emergencies we respond to and their safe mitigation. The topics covered in this chapter include:

  • Leaks In Buildings
    • Leaking ceiling
    • Flodded Roof
    • Overflowing Sinks, Tubs, and Toilets
    • Flooded Basements
    • General Safety Concerns
  • Water Main Leaks

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Revised: 12/20/03 .