A major Bronx water supply line burst this morning just before 6:30 a.m., shutting down four blocks of Jerome Avenue between Tremont Avenue and the Cross Bronx Expressway, halting traffic and disrupting subway and bus service. The bursting of the 108-year-old water main also damaged two gas mains on Jerome Avenue.
The water flow was capped by 9:20 a.m., officials said.
In some places, the water level reached as high as a foot and a half, with much of the four-block stretch of Jerome Avenue covered in at least six inches of water. Traffic in the area was stopped, and police officers redirected cars and buses away from the flooded streets.
Joseph F. Bruno, commissioner of the city’s Office of Emergency Management, said the street would probably be closed for at least two days, and possibly longer. The police set up yellow caution tape to prevent people from going near the broken gas mains.
Chris Olret, a spokesman for Consolidated Edison, said that water had seeped into gas equipment in the area, forcing Con Ed to shut down service to as many as 500 customers. He said service would be restored “within several days.”
Mr. Bruno said, “The mix of the water and the gas was dangerous.”
By late morning, Mr. Bruno said the high water levels had mostly receded. “The sewers picked up very nicely, and it’s all dissipated,” he said, speaking around 11 a.m. at the corner of Jerome and Tremont Avenues.
Because the water main was a main supplier to the Bronx, not a local supplier, he said, the initial water pressure from the burst was powerful enough to cause the severe flooding.
Mr. Bruno said the Fire Department and Con Ed would help business owners whose basements were flooded to pump them.
As of 1 p.m., there was no service in both directions on the No. 4 subway line between the 167th Street and Bedfork Park Boulevard-Lehman College Stations. The service change was made at 7:48 a.m., a Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokeswoman said, adding that there was no timetable for when regular service would be restored. Riders should also expect delays and detours on the BX1, BX2, BX3, BX18, BX32, BX36, BX40 and BX42 bus routes, the transportation authority said.
A women’s shelter a block away from the burst water main was evacuated Wednesday morning, and business owners idled on the sidewalk as sirens blared intermittently. Many of the businesses on Jerome Avenue remained open, but without street access, employees were left wondering how to lure customers.
Porfirio Rosario, who works at a building supply warehouse near Tremont Avenue, said most nearby businesses, many of them car mechanic shops, relied on car traffic for customers.
Mr. Rosario said that customers could not get to his warehouse to pick up deliveries.
“All of this was flooded; now you can see the trickle,” Mr. Rosario said. “It’s just an awful chain of events.”
Nelson Rodriguez, who works at Excellent Auto Center on Jerome Avenue, said that he lived near where the water main broke and that by 7 a.m., the water level was up to the middle of the tires on his car. Now, he said, he has to check whether the inside of his car is damaged.
Another employee at the auto center swept water from in front of the shop with a broom. Usually by 11 a.m., the shop has had at least 10 customers, Mr. Rodriguez said. But it has had none. He said that more than 10 people could not get to work because of the flooding.
“If we don’t got no cars or nothing,” he said, “we don’t got no money.”