McGill hardest hit by massive water-main break

The intersection of Avenue du Docteur-Penfield and McTavish Street, in Montreal on January 29 after a watermain break



MONTREAL - Images of a McGill student being carried away by a raging downtown flood proved this wasn't any ordinary water main break.

McGill took the brunt of the damage when an aging pipe burst, sending 40 million litres of water coursing into school basements while turning streets into rivers.

The most dramatic moment in Monday's pipe failure came when a young woman tried to cross a street on campus and braced herself against water that was nearly up to her waist, as captured on video.

"Wait! She's gonna get hit," a bystander screams as the woman falls down and is carried down the street.
An onlooker says: "Somebody should go and save her."

The woman was apparently unhurt.

Classes were cancelled in two McGill buildings on Tuesday and students in a third building were relocated as city officials scrambled to patch up the damage.

They say the 48-inch pipe that gave way dates back to 1924.

"About 40 million litres of water were lost in about two hours," said waterworks director Chantal Morissette.

The water supply was shut off in the area but not before the main commercial strip, Ste-Catherine Street, was under a foot of water.

Officials say the break didn't affect the city's water supply but a number of buildings were damaged.
Waterlogged streets had turned into skating rinks by Tuesday morning, making them hazardous for pedestrians.

Trucks spread salt throughout downtown and power remained out at downtown office towers.

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