A BURST pipe caused havoc when thousands of homes were left without water andschools were forced to close.
Seven thousand homes and businesses in Bourne and Morton were left without water for six-and-a-half hours on Monday after the 18in pipe burst close to Anglian Water treatment works in Manning Road.
It happened at 5.30am and sent water flooding along Manning Road and into the garden of five homes in Ancaster Road.
Six schools were forced to close and one supermarket sold 250 bottles of water within two hours as people panic-bought stock.
Manning Road resident Janet Issaoui came home from work at 5.30am to find the water flooding out onto the road as far as the former Rainbow store.
She said: “It was like a river down the road.”
Water flooded into the back garden and kitchen of Ancaster Road residents Stewart and Betty Sandall.
Water is now trapped under the flooring and the couple have had insurance assessors investigate the damage. Mrs Sandall said that the water must have reached a depth of 5in in their back garden.
She said: “It was a bit of a shock.”
Debbie McGreevy, who lives near the treatment works in Manning Road, had to wade into her garden to save one of her cats which had become trapped on the patio.
Mrs McGreevy said: “The water went over the top of my wellies.
“It is something that can’t be helped, if it goes wrong, it goes wrong.”
Teresa Andrew, of Sandalls butchers, in West Street, said they realised they had no water at the shop at 5.45am on Monday.
She lives in Holloway Avenue, Bourne, which still had water, so she went home to get some water.
She said: “We are lucky we can get access to clean water. If we couldn’t, we wouldn’t have been able to open the shop as we need water for washing our hands.”
Traders in the town battled on despite the water problems.
Josie Barwell, manager of Polly’s in North Street, said she had a bit of a panic when she realised the water was off.
She said she had to buy bottled water in, but accepted it was one of those things. “Customers have all been patient,” she added.
Karen James, of Burtons bakers in West Street, said: “We had to go to Thurlby and get some water from our baker’s dad’s home. We had to delay our washing up, but that was about it.”
Shoppers emptied the shelves of bottled water at Bourne’s Anglia Co-operative foodstore in the Burghley Centre in less than two hours.
Manager Gavin Price arranged for extra bottles to be delivered from rgw Market Deeping store.
He said: “Around 250 bottles of all sizes had gone out from the store by about 9.30am. People were panic-buying and picking up 10 or 12 bottles at a time.
“Fortunately we were able to prepare the store for an 8am opening without too much disruption.”
The Robert Manning School, Bourne Grammar School, Bourne Abbey Academy Primary, Bourne Westfield, The Willoughby School and Morton Primary School were all closed.
Robert Manning head Laurence Reilly said the school had no choice but to close. Year 11 students were able to take their A-level physics modular exam this afternoon.
He said: “This was very disappointing, given the fact that we had managed to stay open throughout the severe weather in December.”
Bourne Grammar head Jonathan Maddox said: “The school remained open for a small number of students who had a public examination to sit.”
The water supply was restored at 11am after the Anglian Water re-routed the supply. The pipe has now been repaired.
Anglian spokesman Ciaran Nelson said engineers quickly isolated the leak and rerouted the supply by 11am. He apologised for the disruption caused.