Water restored to thousands of homes – but crisis is far from over for flooded residents

MP Chris Skidmore has visited flood-hit fisher Road and spoken to residents affected

MP Chris Skidmore has visited flood-hit fisher Road and spoken to residents affected

Kingswood’s MP says “lives have been turned upside down by the horrendous and traumatic incident” in which a burst water main flooded Fisher Road and 15 homes.

Firefighters rescued 17 people from their properties on Thursday, some of whom were helped to safety in an inflatable rescue raft.

Six dogs were also taken to safety by the crews during the drama which led to an estimated 24,000 homes being without water for over 24 hours.

The incident caused water supply problems to homes, services and businesses across East Bristol, including Kingswood, Pucklechurch, Mangotsfield, Fishponds, Oldland Common, Longwell Green, Barrs Court, and, for a time Keynsham, Stockwood and Whitchurch.

Schools, services and businesses in East Bristol were forced to close and bowsers were installed at key locations, where at times there were long queues.

Chris Skidmore MP said he would be pressing for an investigation into the water crisis, saying Bristol Water must have better emergency provision.

The flooding in Fisher Road on Thursday Picture: Mabel Dew

The flooding in Fisher Road on Thursday
Picture: Mabel Dew

He said members of his team were out delivering scores of bottles of water on Friday to vulnerable residents living in Cadbury Heath. The nearest bowsers – at the Grange School & Sports College campus in Warmley – were not installed until Friday afternoon and were of little help to people in Cadbury Heath without transport.

Fisher Road resident Tim Dew, whose daughter Mabel took photos of the flooding, described it as like images of the flooding at Boscastle in 2004.

When the water pipe ruptured 10 feet underground late in the afternoon, the force lifted the surface and sent floods gushing across the road and into properties and cars.

Mr Skidmore has been monitoring progress with the clear-up and helping residents sort out insurance claims. He told The Week In: “In the hours I have spent talking to residents it’s clear how horrendous and traumatic this incident has been. One lady has broken her wrists and three ribs when she fell in the road while a family pet – a guinea pig – drowned in the flood.

Pets being rescued from the flood

Pets being rescued from the flood

“Lives have been turned upside down as a result of this incident, and I want to make sure that people get the help they need and deserve.

“Obviously nothing will bring back valuables that have been lost and the upset and pain that residents are feeling right now, but I will be pressing Bristol Water to make claims from their own insurers as residents must not be left out of pocket.

“My concern is that now the water leak has been fixed, the long and difficult job of clearing up the mess and the legal issues must not be forgotten, and I’ve offered all the support I can give to make this happen.

“There are also urgent situations that I am helping to sort – including getting transport for urgent hospital appointments for one couple who cannot get out of their home.”

Although there has been praise for the team which worked round the clock to remove the damaged length of water pipe and install two replacement sections so that supplies could be reconnected, there has been concern that Bristol Water’s emergency helpline was not working.

bristol waterJo McCarron, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Kingswood, who was out with local Labour councillors offering support on Friday, said that several residents had told her that the emergency line has not been working, and during the crisis she was urging people to check on elderly and vulnerable neighbours.

Mr Skidmore contacted Defra Minister Dan Rogerson, whose office has since written to him and the other MPs whose constituencies were affected – Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East), Jack Lopresti (Filton & Bradley Stoke), Steve Webb (Thornbury & Yate), and Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset)

The minister has asked for feedback, including any concerns, about Bristol Water’s response to the crisis.

Bristol Water said all supplies affected had been restored to normal by yesterday afternoon, with parts of Longwell Green and Oldland Common the last to be reconnected.

The company has thanked customers affected in any way for their patience.