Some Workers Told To Stay Home Tuesday After Water Main Break


Some Ohio state offices will be closed Tuesday following a 24 inch water main break in downtown Columbus Monday afternoon.

The water line broke at North 4th and East Gay around 4:20 p.m.

"People were falling so we basically started helping people across the street, to the parking garages because it was literally a river running down 4th Street," said Deputy Fire Chief Jim Cannell.

By 11 p.m. Columbus crews had shut off the water but said it would take all night to repair the water main.

City crews worked feverously to salt the already frozen roads.

Although the department of public utilities has secured the water line, there are still concerns that the sub zero temperatures might compromise the concrete.

Some workers in nearby buildings were stuck inside due to the water.

Workers at AT&T huddled around Shana Green's desk by the window on the fourth floor of the Continental Center.

"You could see the pavement actually cracked and water is just spewing out everywhere,"  said Green.

The building was evacuated with the help of Columbus Division of Fire buses.

"I've been there 12 years next week and they've never, ever shut down,"  said Green.

The impassible streets have paralyzed downtown and left whole buildings without water.  Grant Medical Center was one of them.   They scrambled to bring in fire trucks to pump water into the boilers.

Water was restored to Grant Medical Center after about four hours.

"There's no water here at all.  You can't use the bathroom, you can't flush the commode, you can't take a bath, you can't shave unless you've got an electric razor,"  said Frank Houchins, a resident at Nazareth Towers.

A tough night ahead for the seniors living in that apartment building.

"I haven't seen water like that since I seen the monsoons in Vietnam,"  said Houchins.

Monday night Governor John Kasich's office released a statement saying, "Only essential personnel in executive branch state agencies based in the Riffe Center, the Rhodes Tower, the Department of Education building and the Department of Health building should report to work tomorrow."

All other government employees who work in different buildings should still report to work unless otherwise notified.

If you have a question about your particular office, you can call the State of Ohio Employee Hotline at 1-866-643-6756.

The Columbus Department of Public Utilities is also advising customers to boil their water on North 4th Street between Chapel and Long.