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Cold Snap Causes Multiple Water Main Breaks In Dixmoor

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The cold snap that began Thursday might be to blame for a pair of water main breaks in south suburban Dixmoor, which at one point left nearly the entire village without water service.

Some families were without water for several hours. At the peak of the problem, approximately 80 percent of the homes in Dixmoor had no water service, or only a trickle of water.

It was almost 24 hours before crews had the problem largely under control.

Around 1 p.m. Thursday, an underground water main burst, inundating streets with water.

Dixmoor resident Betty Clark said the street outside her home looked like a frozen river at one point, because the water quickly froze due to temperatures that were already in the teens when the main broke, and dropped to single digits overnight.

"The kids, they had to come home from school, and then walk through, because there's no sidewalks, you see, so they have to walk in the streets." she said. "It was just gushing out of there, and it was all in the streets, and the ice and the slush, and people was backing up."

She said it was dangerous not only for children, but for motorists.

"it's just, it's a mess," she said.

Four other mains also burst on account of the temperature drop, making the situation in Dixmoor even worse.

"Pipes are freezing, and they just, they're busting. They're busting all over," Dixmoor village trustee Fitzgerald Roberts.

One of the worst water main breaks was at 142nd and Spaulding, where an 8-inch pipe burst. It took crews nearly 12 hours to make repairs.

Roberts said it was a combination of the bitter cold and aging pipes.

"Being old infrastructure, and the pipes on this side of town is probably 100 years [old]," he said.

As of 11 a.m., water service had been restored to the entire village, although crews were still working to put a sleeve over one ruptured pipe.

Officials said they don't expect they will need to issue a water boil order.

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