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Burst water main floods downtown Montreal


The Canadian Press
January 29, 2013 — Water cascaded into Montreal's downtown area after a water main breaks.


The flood came from a burst 90-centimetre water main at a construction site near the downtown. Courtesy: McGill Daily.
The flood came from a burst 90-centimetre water main at a construction site near the downtown. Courtesy: McGill Daily.

A river raged through a section of downtown Montreal as a water main break Monday flooded a section of the city core. 

The flood spread near McGill University near rush hour, prompting traffic jams as police rerouted cars and people struggled to escape the area.

Police wanted traffic rerouted because the cascade of water has made the area extremely slippery as it turns to ice. 

Some people wrapped themselves in garbage bags to protect their lower body from the ice-cold water as they crossed submerged streets. 

As the streets thickened with ice, firemen stabbed at drain openings with pike poles to get the water to go in. There were also large road graders pushing the water around trying to get it to disperse. 

City officials said the flood was caused by a 90-centimetre water main that broke at a construction site near downtown, and said they were working to fix the problem. 

Staff at McGill University were warned that several of the university's buildings were flooded and evening classes were cancelled.

City officials said the incident had not affected the quality of drinking water. 

One dramatic video posted to Youtube showed a student trying to cross a road, then slipping and being swept away. The student was reportedly unharmed, but two minor injuries were reported, as of 7 p.m. 

The local ambulance service said the injuries occurred when people slipped and fell.

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