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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dentist Office Flooded By Water Main Break

KITTANNING — Water bubbled up through sidewalk cracks, flooded the basement of a dentist's office and flowed like raging rapids down Arch Street in the downtown Tuesday after a water main break.

The break occurred about 3:40 p.m. in a 10-inch cast iron pipe buried underneath North Grant Avenue, near the intersection of Clay Street.Within minutes, several inches of water were flowing over the street, filling up the basement of Dr. Ray Voller's office and flowing down Arch Street toward the intersection of North McKean Street near the Kittanning Post Office.

Crews from Pennsylvania American Water Co. responded quickly, shutting off water to the line within a half-hour. Borough police and firefighters from Kittanning Hose Cos. 1 and 4 had begun directing traffic through the area when water company crews arrived.

By 9 p.m. Tuesday, crews had punched holes through the blacktop and used a listening device to find the spot to begin digging a four-foot by six-foot hole in order to fix the broken cast iron pipe. Once uncovered, crews had to use pumps to drain the water from the hole to access the pipe, located four feet under the road surface.

Voller, who was seeing patients when the break occurred, said he looked out his window and saw water on the sidewalk outside his office.

"It looked like it was flowing uphill, which obviously concerned me, so I went outside and there was water flowing everywhere on the street," he said. "Then I went into the basement and it was filling up with water too."

Water company workers said water was shut off to Voller's office and the upstairs apartments, as well as five other homes in the area. They expected water service to be restored by this morning.

Workers said the cause of the break was likely due to thawing of the ground due to recent temperature fluctuations.

A portion of North Grant Avenue from Market Street to Arch Street was closed to traffic while crews worked to repair the broken line.

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