Upper Street flooding: Burst water pipe devastates area and forces 100 people out of their homes

Devastation caused by the flooding in Upper Street this morning.

Devastation caused by the flooding in Upper Street this morning. - Credit: Paul Wood

More than 100 people were forced to leave their homes this morning after a burst water main in Upper Street devastated the surrounding area.

Damage to Upper Street caused by the burst pipe. Picture: London Fire Brigade

Damage to Upper Street caused by the burst pipe. Picture: London Fire Brigade - Credit: Archant

Basement flats in Charlton Place were completely underwater following the rupture at 4am, which also hit high-end properties in Colebrooke Row and the boutique shops of Camden Passage.

As the water began to subside it became clear Upper Street’s road surface had also been badly damaged by the 36in pipe bursting.

Flooding in Upper Street this morning. Picture: London Fire Brigade

Flooding in Upper Street this morning. Picture: London Fire Brigade - Credit: Archant

The incident has caused mayhem on the A1, which was shut between Angel station and Islington Green all morning.

Up to 80 properties were damaged in the flood, which hit a 1km area, and shocked homeowners took shelter in the Steam Passage Tavern in Upper Street from 5am.

Devastation caused by the flooding in Upper Street this morning.

Devastation caused by the flooding in Upper Street this morning. - Credit: Paul Wood


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Pub manager Carl Hufton was the person who called the fire brigade after he saw water coming from the burst main at 4am while waiting for deliveries.

Speaking to the Gazette in the pub, he said: “It looked like it was coming from a hole in the ground. It started really gushing out and the crews arrived quickly.

Devastation caused by the flooding in Upper Street this morning.

Devastation caused by the flooding in Upper Street this morning. - Credit: Paul Wood

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“We’ve got about 30 people in here at the moment and a few more have popped in and out since 5am.

“We’re sorting them out with tea and soft drinks. There’s some pretty devastated people in here.”

Devastation caused by the flooding in Upper Street this morning.

Devastation caused by the flooding in Upper Street this morning. - Credit: Paul Wood

Thames Water said crews were doing all they could to get the area back to normal. “We’re really sorry to everyone affected by our burst pipe,” said a spokeswoman.

“We’ve stopped the flow of water and are now planning how best to repair it with as little disruption as possible.

A burst water main has caused severe flooding in Upper Street, Camden Passage and Colebrooke Row. Pi

A burst water main has caused severe flooding in Upper Street, Camden Passage and Colebrooke Row. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Archant

“We don’t except water supplies to be affected by this work. Our loss adjusters are on their way to the area to support those affected by the flooding with insurance claims and making arrangements for alternative accommodation.”

Nine fire engines, including three specialist fire rescue units, are dealing with the flooding, with crews pumping the flood back into a nearby water main.

Reinsurance broker Edward Acker, 35, lives in a terraced house in Charlton Place. He said he and all of his neighbours had been affected.

He told the Gazette: “I woke up at about 5.30am and heard rushing water. I thought it was raining. Then there was a knock on the door.

An aerial shot of the flooding on one half of Upper Street. Picture: @LondonFire

An aerial shot of the flooding on one half of Upper Street. Picture: @LondonFire - Credit: Archant

“They aren’t letting people back because they’re worried about electricity still being on. I poked my head around and water was maybe 2ft deep in the basement, which is my kitchen.

“The running water was going for three hours. I think when I left it had been going for half an hour and it was fine. I think it could have been stopped sooner.

Jeremy Corbyn outside Charlton Place, where homeowners were forced out of their homes by the flood

Jeremy Corbyn outside Charlton Place, where homeowners were forced out of their homes by the flood - Credit: Archant

“It’s aggravating to have to get it all sorted and sit through six months of work. I’ve got guests staying over Christmas. I think we’re all a bit stressed and frustrated.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was on his way to the bank before a pensioners forum meeting when he stopped to speak to locals.

The road has closed due to the flooding. Picture: @LondonFire

The road has closed due to the flooding. Picture: @LondonFire - Credit: Archant

He told the Gazette: “It’s quite shocking, there’s a very impressive array of emergency vehicles here. We’re lucky to have such esteemed police and fire crews.

“I feel very sorry for everyone affected. The thing with flooding is, it’s not about the high cost items like the cooker or the fridge, it’s the personal things – letters, photos and records. That’s what people get upset over, and understandably.”

Police warned drivers to avoid Upper Street. Picture: Met Police

Police warned drivers to avoid Upper Street. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Archant

An Islington Council spokesman said: “We are working with the emergency services and Thames Water to deal with a burst water main in Upper Street.”

It comes as the fire brigade launches a consultation on expanding its capacity to respond to flood incidents.

A spokesman said: “The brigade was called at 5.02am. Firefighters from Islington, Dowgate, Whitechapel, Bethnal Green, Shoreditch, Battersea, Edmonton and Euston fire stations are at the scene.”

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