Montreal·Timeline

Why a major water main break on Pie-IX took 5 hours to fix

When a 48-inch water main broke at the corner of Pie-IX Boulevard and Villeray Street last Oct. 30, more than 600 buildings were flooded and about 250 people were forced out of their homes. Here's how that morning unfolded.

Here's what happened the morning a broken water main flooded St-Michel

The city's detailed timeline of how the emergency repair unfolded on Oct. 30 shows it took five hours to stop the flood. (CBC)

When a 48-inch water main broke at the corner of Pie-IX Boulevard and Villeray Street last Oct. 30, more than 600 buildings were flooded and about 250 people were forced out of their homes.

It took city crews about five hours to shut off water valves and find the initial break, leaving many city blocks knee-deep in water. 

Electricity was temporarily cut off to the neighbourhood and a boil-water advisory was also issued for three boroughs.

Here's how the morning unfolded:

4:52 a.m. 911 call about water gushing out of a hole in the road on Pie-IX between Villeray and Everett comes in.
5:07 a.m. The city's water department is informed of the break and is told it needs to intervene.
5:20 a.m. Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension tells the city's water department it doesn't have the equipment it needs to shut the valves off.
5:24 a.m. Police and fire are in place and close the road.
6:17 a.m. The city's specialized maintenance team is notified. The team has both the equipment and training to open and close valves on the main network. But they don't work on Fridays and have to be called in.
7:15 a.m. The city's first crew and set of equipment arrive on site. The site is secured and water is pumped out of the chamber.
8:15 a.m. The first crew starts to work on shutting down the valve.
8:45 a.m. A second crew and equipment arrives on site by police escort.
10 a.m. Valves are completely shut off. 

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