Massive water main break in Shelby Park area

The water has begun to recede in Louisville's Shelby Park neighborhood after a 48-inch water main busted early Tuesday morning.

LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) -- MetroSafe is reporting a large water main break at Jackson and Oak in downtown Louisville.

The break is affecting 6-8 blocks downtown, with reports of water up to 4 feet.

Businesses in the area are temporarily shut down and local hospitals are reporting low water pressure.

Norton Healthcare's downtown properties were affected by the water main break. They had to activate their plan of drinking only bottled water and using hand sanitizer after washing with water. As a precaution, they also delayed elective surgeries. 

Humana said their downtown Louisville offices do not have water and are asking employees to work from home. 

Louisville Water and Fire are advising people to avoid the area. Louisville Fire said three people were rescued, that includes a Jefferson County Public Schools bus driver. Everyone is OK. 

“I ask not to treat it as a spectacle and try to be attracted or drawn to it and want to see what’s going on. You need to stay away from a scene like this because water flowing at that rate of speed uncontrollably, you’re putting yourself in a very dangerous situation," Louisville Fire spokesperson Captain Salvador Malendez said. 

It is unclear what caused the water main break. It reportedly occurred around 7:30 a.m. 

According to JCPS, there are no reports of any schools being affected at this time. Schools will receive bottled water in case there are issues with drinking water at a later time, according to JCPS. 

A boil water advisory was issued as a precaution late Tuesday afternoon. 

“This pipe carries millions of gallons of water so when it breaks, it’s massive. Louisville Water has about 4200 miles of pipe in our system. It ranges in size from about six inches in diameter to sixty inches in diameter. So, this is one of our bigger pipes. Believe it or not, we have water main breaks almost every day. Most customers have no idea because they’re smaller pipes, and we can route the water," Louisville Water spokesperson Kelley Dearing Smith said. “We need to look at the pipe and figure out exactly what kind of damage we’re dealing with. The cleanup can take a few days. It can take a few weeks.”

The Red Cross said those who are affected by the break can call 855-891-7325 or 502-589-4450. The Red Cross is working to set up at a church at Oak and Clay. 

Neighbors described their hectic mornings, detailing what it was like to see their streets transformed with all of that water. 

"I heard a loud banging on my door. It was a panicked banging. I opened it up to my neighbor Jackie screaming you’ve got to move your cars. There was water rushing down the street. It wasn’t like anything I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen some floods and stuff but nothing like this," neighbor Marisa McClintock said. “It looked like a river. It literally looked like a river. You could not see the roads. It wasn’t anything I’ve ever seen other than on television with the massive floods and hurricanes this past summer.”

“My house is full of water. The cars are surrounded by water," neighbor Dewayne Rhoades said. 
We are continuing to monitor the situation and will add updates to this story as they become available.

© 2018 WHAS-TV


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