Beacon Hill street damaged after early-morning water main break

BOSTON — In the middle of the night, water gushed down streets in one Beacon Hill neighborhood after a water main broke.

The water not only damaged the streets and sidewalks, but also people’s homes and apartments.

“We had just gotten into bed and I heard water rushing in my place,” said Rob Rottenbucher. “It wasn’t coming in the windows, it was actually coming in through the walls.

Hancock Street looked more like a raging river overnight.

“There was like six inches of water, the full width, including covering the sidewalks and everything,” said Rottenbucher.

“We couldn’t stop it, it was just gushing, gushing, so we moved as much furniture and rugs away from the water that we could,” said Florence Faro.

The source -- at the top of Hancock and Myrtle Streets where crews were working on an ongoing project to replace an old water main.

“The contractor was working replacing a water main in the process of replacing the water main a gate valve let go on the old water main, which he thought, which we thought shut down, but apparently it wasn’t,” said Tom Bagley, the spokesperson for Boston Water and Sewer Commission.

As a result, water flooded the streets -- and people’s homes.

“There was enough force to knock over a lot of our stored materials and then a lot of the stuff that was knocked to the floor was completely soaked and damaged,” said Ashely Ott, a renter on Hancock Street.

Firefighters went door-to-door checking on residents, making sure they were safe. No one had to be evacuated and no one was hurt, but the damage was done -- and it was costly.

“I’m going to have to get a contractor and get the whole basement redone now,” said Rottenbucher. “That’s where my bedroom is, my master bath, I’ve got a bunch of music equipment down there. It’s going to be a disaster.”

“I would say thousands of dollars and we haven’t even started to look in this basement,” said Falo.

Water service was restored just before 10 p.m. Tuesday while the Boston Water and Sewer Commission said they are investigating to see who is at fault for the incident.

“When you’re working around gates and high pressure pipes, this could happen,” said Bagley. “Unfortunately, we apologize to the residents in the area, this is unfortunate.”

Residents who were impacted can file a claim with Boston and Water and Sewer.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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