Pigtown water main break

A water main break at 1200 Washington Blvd. caused homes to be evacuated and about 16 people were displaced. (Algerina Perna, Baltimore Sun / December 28, 2013)

About 200 customers were out of water on Monday morning after a 20-inch water main pipe burst in Pigtown on Sunday night, flooding nearly a dozen houses and displacing 16 people, according to the Baltimore Department of Public Works.

Thousands of gallons of water rushed down the street and into storm drains at the corner of West Ostend Street and Washington Boulevard, while evacuated residents looked on as city workers tried to shut off the water.

The Baltimore City Department of Transportation reported at 8:10 a.m. on Monday that the water main break has closed Washington Boulevard at Ostend Street. Northbound Washington Boulevard has been detoured to Carey Street, while southbound Washington Boulevard has been detoured to Cross Street, DOT said.

The central concern for the workers was ensuring the leak didn't cause additional gas or electricity problems or endanger residents, said Public Works spokesman Jeffrey Raymond on Sunday.

On Monday morning, DPW said that workers were continuing to repair the break. DPW told customers that if water flowing from taps was cloudy or brown it should be allowed to run until clear.

For Natasha and Reginald Biddle, though, who live in the 1200 block of Washington Blvd., "right in the middle" of the flooding, it meant a long wait to hear the extent of the damage.

Natasha Biddle, an MTA bus driver, said she had been in her row house around 5:30 p.m., when she heard people shouting about the water outside.

She checked her basement and found water rushing in from the floor and the underground wall. Her house alarm went off. Moments later, she said, a police officer was knocking on her door telling her to evacuate the house.

"I got my daughter and my two dogs and my turtles," she said, leaning against her car and pointing to a Sheltie in the passenger seat and a Golden Retriever in the back. She said the water was three feet high in her basement by the time she'd left.

Public Works officials didn't immediately have a damage estimate and weren't sure when the houses would be re-inhabitable. They planned to bring in pumps to drain the basements, Raymond said.

The Biddles planned to stay at a relative's home Sunday night. Natasha Biddle said she would call her insurance provider first thing Monday morning.

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

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