Water main break floods street, float plane base

Posted: Wednesday, March 27, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A water main near the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport burst Monday night, flooding a portion of a busy roadway and the southeastern part of Lake Spenard with 3 million gallons of treated water.

The flood left several planes parked on the icy lake standing in four feet of slushy water.

When the 16-inch pipe broke around 8:30 p.m, water gushed north onto Spenard Road and ran down to the lake.

Airport safety officers, plane owners and their friends donned red, coldwater emergency suits and slogged through the chest-high water to rescue planes stuck in the middle of a swath of gray water nearly the size of a football field.

The water main likely broke because of pressure from frost, said Brian Crewdson, a spokesman for Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility. It took crews several hours to dig through the snow to reach underground shutoff valves. The flow was turned off at about 2:30 a.m., he said.

The break was fixed by Tuesday evening.

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