Water Line Break Leaves Lots Of Damage

Thursday, October 23rd 2008, 8:25 am
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A water main break causes big problems in Tulsa.  The break stranded folks in an apartment complex, damaged several cars, and left many families without water service near 33rd and Mingo.

Debbie Lewallen just bought her dream car, a Scion, five months ago.  While driving down 33rd Street, her car was met by a wall of water.

"When we got to about that driveway, it was just like a wave, just real quick.  The car in front of me, took him under and then me," said Debbie Lewallen.

Once city crews shut off the water, it receded quickly, but the damage was done.  Water was everywhere in Lewallen's car, the floorboards, cup holders, and worse.

"I think it totaled it.  It's got to the brain.  So there is no electric or nothing.  It got up to the top of the door here," said Debbie Lewallen.

Lewallen is among a half dozen people whose cars were swamped when an eight inch water line ruptured at 33rd and Mingo.

"It's probably totaled.  It's probably totaled," said Mary Niepoky of Tulsa.

The line was connected to a much larger pipe, which explains why there was so much water, so quickly.

"You couldn't even walk out.  You were shocked.  It was all high.  All the cars out there, it was up over the hood.  It was bad," said Carol Louden who lives at the Heatherstone Apartments.

In addition to damaging the cars, the water also limited access to the Heatherstone Apartments.  Water service was also shut down for residents and businesses in the area, while repairs were made.

For those like Lewallen, they're left hoping insurance covers the damage.  But, she says while the situation was scary, the hardest part will be saying goodbye to her dream car.

The city says rainy weather could have contributed to the line break.  When it gets really wet or dry, it can cause the soil around the pipe to expand or contract which can put too much pressure on older water lines.