Water-main break floods Port Richmond homes

A PGW team begins work in the 3000 block of Livingston Street after a water-main break Wednesday flooded at least a dozen homes. The sinkhole created by the break was expanded for repairing the water main. Story, B4.
A PGW team begins work in the 3000 block of Livingston Street after a water-main break Wednesday flooded at least a dozen homes. The sinkhole created by the break was expanded for repairing the water main. Story, B4. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer)
Posted: February 22, 2014

Eugene Nowakowski and his wife spent the night at a Red Cross shelter following a water-main break Wednesday that flooded the basement of his Port Richmond home and left him without water or heat.

As he prepared to spend a second night at the Red Cross House in West Philadelphia, what pained him most was the water damage to his custom-made Ken Smith bass guitar.

"You can't buy it anywhere. It was made just for me," an angry Nowakowski said Thursday night.

The water-main break Wednesday afternoon flooded the basement of at least a dozen homes in the 3000 block of Livingston Street, where the 55-year-old Nowakowski has lived for two decades.

A gas main was shut off as a precaution, but then was damaged when part of the street collapsed on it, said Melanie McCottry of the Philadelphia Gas Works.

Eighteen homes remained without gas service Thursday evening, but the utility expected four homes to be restored sometime during the night and the remaining customers to get service back on Friday, McCottry said.

Laura Copeland, spokeswoman for the Philadelphia Water Department, said service had been restored to the homes on Livingston, but repairs on the water main itself would continue.

Nowakowski used to play at weddings and parties until a work injury sidelined his musical career, he said. So he kept his bass guitar in a case in the basement, where he assumed it would be safe.

He didn't have much time to speak on the phone as he and his wife were expecting a taxi to take them from their house to the Red Cross House where dinner was about to be served.

"We are very hungry and exhausted," he said.


bmoran@phillynews.com

215-854-5983

@RobertMoran215

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