132-year-old pipe bursts, flooding Orange Avenue in Orlando

Vehicle gets stuck in water, but driver safely escapes

ORLANDO, Fla. – A water main break caused major street flooding Monday afternoon near downtown Orlando.

The flooding, which spanned about a block, was reported around 4:15 p.m. in the 800 block of Orange Avenue near Colonial Drive.

A spokesman with the Orlando Utilities Commission said the main and the damage associated with the break were repaired by midnight.

One lane of Orange Avenue was reopened around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, and water was restored to about 300 customers, including an apartment building, where a 48-hour boil water alert is in effect, officials said. Four nearby small business were also included in the boil water notice, the OUC spokesman said.

Sky 6 video from the scene showed a black vehicle stuck in the water. Officials from the Orlando Fire Department said no one was injured as a result of the incident. Authorities blocked off the area from Marks Street to Park Lake Street. 

Crews excavated the pipe, which officials said was installed in 1887.

RJ Borum said he was pulling up to his apartment complex when he noticed water in the roadway and police setting up caution tape.

"There was cops on the scene, you know, there was water. I was driving along, it looks like someone hit a fire hydrant or something," Borum said.

Borum said that moments later, he felt his vehicle move from beneath him.

"You're on a roller coaster and the ride goes backwards, kind of like the car just reversed backwards, and I was just like, 'What's going on?'" said Borum.

Jerry Jobe Jr. recorded video on his cellphone the moment Borum's vehicle fell in the hole.

"We didn't know if the whole street was going to open up, it's Florida, sinkholes. So, we were yelling for him to get out," Jobe said.

Borum said that people yelled at him to get out of the vehicle as safely as possible. 

"Cop ran up and said, 'Get out of the car now.' And grabbed my backpack, my phone and my wallet and got out of the car," Borum said.

Borum also said that his employer owns the vehicle he was driving at the time.

The water main break is the second time an aging pipe has burst in downtown Orlando in the last six months.

On Oct. 22, a 77-year-old water main cracked and opened a hole beneath Summerlin Avenue near the intersection of Concord Street. The rupture led to a three-year project to replace the 20-inch main that runs underneath Summerlin Avenue.

Check back for more updates on this developing story.

About the Author:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.