People evacuated as burst water main floods homes in north London | London

People have been forced to evacuate from their homes because of a burst water main in a north London street.

The water main in Belsize Road, Camden, burst at 2.50am, causing flooding of up to half a metre in depth “across an area of roughly 800 metres”, London fire brigade (LFB) said.

Several homes were flooded, with firefighters having to lead about 20 people to safety. The LFB said eight fire engines and about 60 firefighters attended the scene.

The LFB deputy assistant commissioner, Andy Williams, said: “There are significant road closures in place and we’re asking people to avoid the area where possible.

“The water authority are working to isolate the burst water main and firefighters are expected to remain on scene for a number of hours. Crews are using flood barriers and a high-volume pumping unit to divert flood water.”

London fire brigade said the burst water main had led to flooding of up to half a metre in depth. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

Cody Dolcy-Grant, of Hilgrove Road, at the end of Belsize Road, told the PA news agency that she woke up to scenes “like the River Thames” outside.

“I wasn’t aware of the situation until 7am when I went to the toilet, realised the toilet wasn’t flushing and no water was coming out of the taps,” said the 27-year-old, who is unemployed as a result of a health condition.

“My road was flooded … When I opened the front door, it was like a horror scene – fire engines up my whole road, police, ambulance, and then I looked to my left and it was like the River Thames outside.”

Dolcy-Grant lives on the second floor of her building, so her home was not flooded, but she said that she still had no running water by midday, while all the shops on her street were closed.

Footage shared on social media showed emergency services using small boats and helping residents wrapped in blankets to safety. A rest centre has been set up at the nearby Swiss Cottage leisure centre.

Thames Water said: “We’re working with the local emergency services to make sure all residents are safe as a priority, whilst our engineers continue to shut off the pipe valves in the surrounding area.

“If your home has been flooded, we’re so sorry, we know this must be very distressing. Our support teams are on their way to help customers experiencing low pressure or no water.”

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In an update on Saturday evening, Thames Water said water pressure in the area was starting to return and would continue to do so overnight.

A spokesperson added: “We have been delivering bottled water to customers who are pre-registered with us. This includes those who have special requirements, such as being medically reliant on water.

“Our customer representatives are in the process of visiting the Belsize Road area to carry out door-knocking to see if there is any more assistance we can provide. Loss adjustors are in the area to assess the damage and support residents in getting their lives back to normal.

“Our repair team will continue to work hard to get the pipe fixed as soon as they possibly can, and we’ll continue to keep our website and social media updated with our progress.”

PA Media contributed to this report

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