By Brooke Shafer

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A significant water line break in downtown Miami early Wednesday morning turned some streets into ponds.

“We have flooding that in some areas it’s ankle high in other areas it’s knee-high,” said Pete Sanchez with Miami Fire Rescue said around 8 a.m.

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The 12-inch break led police to temporarily shut down Biscayne Boulevard from SE 3rd Street to SE 5th Street and from SE 1st Avenue to Biscayne Boulevard and close the loop on the nearby Metromover.

Video from Chopper 4 over the area shows the flooded streets.


See what it looks like from the ground in this video taken by Miami Fire Rescue.


The significant flooding not only affected traffic but the people who live in two nearby high rises.

Robert Hanreck was one of them.

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“This morning at about 8:10 is the first kind of commotion I heard on the street below,” he said.

Hanreck said he ended up being stuck in his apartment building and couldn’t go to work.

“Even if I could get out, then it’s going to be a problem getting back in because they’ve shut off traffic to the area,” he said.

The city’s water and sewer department is investigating the cause of the break.

“It broke almost like an egg, it broke straight through,” said Kevin Lynskey, director of Miami-Dade Water ad Sewer. “The pipe itself was already scheduled to be replaced within a year.”

Lynskey called it a “spontaneous break” and said Wednesday’s cold weather could have been a factor.

“We’re not sure in this case. It’s under a very heavily traveled road, it has a number of years on it, but it could respond to changes in temperature.”

Wednesday afternoon, residents returned to find that their taps were dry.

“You can’t shower, flush the toilet or wash dishes. I’m headed to the store to buy bottled water because I don’t know how long this will last,” said resident Robert Kessler.

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Once service is restored, residents will have to boil their water for 48 hours if they plan
on drinking it.