AKRON, Ohio - A dozen Akron residents were rescued from their homes after a massive water main break Thursday evening.
It happened at about 6 p.m. in the area of West North Street and North Valley Street.
People were trapped on their porches by the high water and waited for rescue teams to get them to safety. Firefighters, struggling with the growing sandbars in the street, carried children, while boats aided older residents to higher ground.
"They opened the door and a wall of water. Where's all this water coming from," resident Renee Mayfield said.
Akron Police Lt. Rich Edwards said homes on Gold and North suffered extensive water damage and possible structural damage. The Red Cross has been notified to help the displaced residents, Edwards said.
Residents will be allowed back into their homes Friday just to sort through items.
About six businesses also sustained damage during the break. Engineers will be at the scene Friday morning to assess the condition of the nearby Extrusion Services Inc. building.
Some motorists even tried to drive through the high water, but became stuck, Akron police said. Police are asking drivers to avoid the area.
When the water receded shortly after 8 p.m., it left behind sandbars and cracked roadways.
City crews are there to backfill and repair the line Friday, the City of Akron said. It will take a few days to get the pipe material needed.
The Akron Water Department issued a precautionary boil alert because of the 36-inch water main break. Akron Water Customers in Fairlawn and Copley should boil their water until further notice.
West Akron residents with low water pressure after 6 p.m. should also boil their water, city officials said.
Classes at nearby St. Vincent-St. Mary High School were canceled Friday.