Updated/Video: Hundreds without water after a fire hydrant was damaged in Ixworth

HUNDREDS of homes in west Suffolk were left without water on the hottest day of the year after a fire hydrant was damaged during roadworks.

A jet of water shot 70ft into the air after contractors carrying out road maintenance in Ixworth apparently dislodged part of the mains.

Witnesses in the High Street said “all hell broke loose” as water pumped above nearby shops and houses at about 11am yesterday.

One man working near the scene, said a road plane, a large machine that scrapes away about 50mm of the road’s surface, had knocked into the box housing the fire hydrant causing the mains to rupture.

He said: “Suddenly about 70ft of water shot out.

“Heavy machinery was parked over the leak, which stemmed the flow slightly, but water still gushed to heights of 30ft.”

Kim Gerrold, manager of The Pykkerell pub on the High Street, said: “We’re just waiting for Noah and the Ark. It happened just after I got to work at about 11am.

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“There are crowds of people here, just watching and taking photos, even the police are here now.”

Other business owners said that although they had water, trade had been slow because of the leak and the planned maintenance.

John Clare from Anglian Water said the company was working to solve the problem. “Several hundred homes in Ixworth will have been without water as a result, with many more experiencing lower than normal pressure.

“We apologise to any customers affected and are working hard to put things right.

“We managed to stop the flow at about 4.30pm and restore supplies to most of those affected.

“We estimate that around 100 homes are still off water and are working to see if there are ways to supply them via alternative routes.”

A spokesman from the water company confirmed this morning that water supply has now been returned to all homes.

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