Major main break in Philadelphia causes flooding, closes schools

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UPDATE: 2:00pm

A major water main break in Northeast Philadelphia is causing flooding problems, closing dozens of schools and disrupting life in many city neighborhoods.

 The break happened this morning near the intersection of Frankford and Torresdale avenues as people were trying to go to work and school this morning.Executive Chief Richard Davison of the Philadelphia Fire Department says work is underway to fix the issue.”We were interested in a day care in the area called the Nanna’s  daycare.  We sheltered those children in place, they are in a safe situation right now,” he said. “We are investigating a gas station with tanks that might have some water in the area so we have out haz mat task force out there investigating that.”The concern with the gas station is that the flooding could undermine the soil under the tanks causing them to leak.  Dawson said multiple city departments are working on the situation.

In late morning, the Philadelphia School District cancelled classes at 44 schools in affected areas. 

Before the district announced the closure, teachers at affected schools had to manage classes in limbo.

“Kids can’t go to the bathroom. They can’t wash their hands. And anyone that has a medical issue in which they require water, they don’t have it,” said Amy Roat, teacher at one of the affected schools, Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences.

“We have a few children that really need to drink water because they’re medically fragile,” she said, “and now they don’t have water.”

District spokesman Fernando Gallard said it was “unusual” for such a large number of schools to be affected by a water main break.

“We’ve never had this number of schools affected,” he said.

The district will provide transportation to students that usually rely on it. Notices have been sent to parents via phone and email.

Staff remained in schools upon the discretion of individual principals.

Today is the last day of classes before school district students leave for winter break.

WHYY’s Kevin McCorry contributed to this report.

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