Water back on in Roseland after broken fire hydrant, freezing floodwater

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A water leak from a damaged fire hydrant caused an icy mess early Thursday morning on Chicago's Far South Side.

Emergency crews rushed to the area of West 115th Street and South Princeton Avenue in the city's Roseland neighborhood around 4:30 a.m. to stop the flood. Water collected on the street and froze due to below-freezing temperatures and subzero wind chills.

Residents finally got their water back on Thursday afternoon after a damaged fire hydrant caused a leak which left some without service for hours.

The bitter cold forced crews to use fire to thaw valves as they tried to make repairs. Investigators later determined the hydrant had been hit by a car.

"We discovered that because of the amount of water and because of the cold temperatures, the other water had started to freeze. So it took us a little longer to be able to shut the section of main down to shut down the hydrant," Chicago Department of Water Management Commissioner Randy Conner said.

The damage to the hydrant was enough to flood several blocks. The CTA had to reroute the No. 115 bus Thursday morning. Water was shut down from Princeton to South Wentworth Avenue, between 115th and West 117th streets.

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A water leak from a damaged fire hydrant caused an icy mess early Thursday morning on Chicago's Far South Side.

"We just woke up to take showers and use the bathroom and nothing was working. We couldn't even give our dogs no water. We have to go to our grandma's house to use her water," said Kellee Vassar, a Roseland resident whose water was turned off Thursday.

Residents also jumped into their cars to keep them from freezing into the water.

"What was going through my head is, if it gets frozen, we're going to be in a lot of trouble," said Sandra Dunmars, a Roseland resident who moved her car Thursday morning. "Everything freezes up. Everybody's trying to get back and forth to work. It's a real inconvenience for everyone."

Despite the difficult conditions, the problem was fixed by Thursday afternoon and just in time for Kellee Vassar, who's already had enough of winter.

"I'm just ready for it to be over. I'm just ready for it to break," said Vassar.

The cold also caused problems Thursday morning in Chicago's Morgan Park neighborhood. A Chicago Fire Department truck got stuck in the ice near West 118th and South Peoria streets while responding to reports of a fire at a vacant home. This incident was not related to the broken fire hydrant. No one was hurt.
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