Burst water pipe leaves destruction in its wake

WHILE residents of Tiffany Gardens, Bassonia, are cleaning up after a devastating flood in the early hours of New Year’s Day, residents of Bassonia Rock are coming to terms with losing everything in their homes.

It is alleged that the flood occurred when a main feeder water pipe into the Bassonia Rock reservoir burst.

The Hudson couple were asleep in their Bassonia Rock home at around 04:00 on New Year’s Day when they awoke to a huge bang. Seconds later torrents of water crashed through their upstairs bedroom window sending them sprawling from their bed. “We didn’t have time to even think what was happening and the water was rising quickly. My wife clung onto the en suite bathroom basin so she wouldn’t be washed out of the opposite smashed window while I broke open our bedroom door so we could escape. I ran down the stairs which were now being flooded with water, to open the garage doors to let the water escape.”

In darkness they ran out of their home and managed to wake up a cousin who lives a few doors away. “We’d lost our phones in the flood and needed to call for help.” Their neighbour, whose house fortunately wasn’t flooded, had seen what was taking place. “We’d only been home about 15 minutes when we heard an almighty crash. My husband actually thought a plane had come down onto the opposite house,” said Laura Peixoto. “The top of the huge water pipe had been blown into the air from the force of the water, which completely swept over the Hudson’s home, and part of it landed on top of our other neighbours’ home. Thankfully they were away on holiday.”

Peixoto phoned Ward 23 councillor Sarah Wissler who raised the alarm and it was then that she also found out the torrents of water were crashing down the hill onto Tiffany Gardens, a townhouse complex.

As the Hudsons and Peixotos watched in horror, thousands and thousands of litres of water gushed around other neighbours’ homes. “It was unbelievable to see and as massive rocks, soil and sand hurtled into Tiffany Gardens we saw vehicles being smashed and swept away.”

The CHRONICLE spoke to Godfrey Maumela, Bulk Water Distribution executive manager, who was at Tiffany Gardens on Tuesday, January 3, assessing the damage. “Clr Wissler has been amazing, working tirelessly to make sure families have food and clothing and on hand to assist wherever she can,” he said. “Teams from Joburg Water and Rand Water, as well as structural engineers have been on site since the tragedy happened.”

“When I got the phone call about what had happened I raced to the scene and CPF members were already there, assisting families. Some had to be rescued out of their units as huge amounts of water swept through their homes,” added Clr Wissler.

The Hudson’s one neighbour, an elderly woman, was rescued by EMS, as rocks crashed into her home.

“We’ve lost everything,” said a visibly shocked Mrs Hudson as she spoke to the CHRONICLE reporter on January 3. “I found some of our clothing and possessions down the road, after they were washed away. I still can’t believe this has happened. Our beautiful home has been destroyed.”

Other homes in Rooigras Avenue, Bassonia, were also damaged by the water and rocks which came gushing down from Tiffany Gardens with the tarmac on the road having lifted.

“This is indeed a tragedy for all the residents affected and I will do my utmost to see to it they are compensated fairly,” said Clr Wissler.

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Julie Maule
Comaro Chronicle News Editor

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