HUNDREDS of residents fled their homes after a burst pipe sent two million litres of water flooding into their properties.
The surge in Streetly, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, was caused by a split water main close to the Barr Beacon Reservoir.
The powerful torrent ripped down walls, left gardens submerged and put some homes under five feet of water at around 5.15am on Saturday.
It took until 8am before the levels subsided as fire crews worked to pump out the flood.
Witnesses have told how they were woken up by the sound of the rushing water.
Former British Leyland worker Margaret Bayliss, 76, has lived in her semi-detached home since 1956.
“I came down the stairs and found myself paddling in water,” she told the Sunday Mercury.
“It was starting to come up the stairs and it was up to my windows. I was ever so frightened.”
Margaret called her son Mike, 53, who raced from his home in Cannock, Staffordshire, to rescue his stricken mum.
“When I got here I just tried to calm her down,” he said. “The Fire Brigade forced a window, and I went in with them.
“Mum had four firemen carry her out through the window and over the neighbour’s fence. I think she was a little embarrassed.
“Her conservatory has been ruined, so have the floors.”
The water formed a fast-flowing river, engulfing the lowest-lying properties on each street.
Telephone engineer Rob Markham, 30, was asleep with partner Helen Deeley, 25, and their 14-month-old baby Harrison when the flood hit.
“We were in bed and we heard the neighbours banging on our wall,” he said.
“The whole house was flooded in 5ft of water. Our things were floating down the street.
“I just moved the car to where it was dry and stood with our neighbours while Helen stayed with Harrison upstairs.
“People have been great, bringing out cups of tea and helping out.”
Teacher Shyama Petkar, 27, and her 28-year-old husband Zunaid, have one of the first homes to be hit.
“We’ve only been here six months,” said Shyama. “We’d still not unpacked everything, it was stored in boxes in the garage and was soaked.
“There was a bed, lawn-mower and freezer which are ruined. “Thankfully, it only got into the hall in the house.”
The burst pipe was operated by South Staffordshire Water. Last night a spokeswoman for the firm apologised for the leak and promised to meet the cost of replacing lost possessions.
“We offer our sincere apologies for the distress and inconvenience caused,” she said. “It is very rare for a burst water main to cause damage to properties.
“We will write to everyone involved and explain what they need to do claim for their possessions. Their insurance will pay them and we will reimburse the insurance companies.”
West Midlands Ambulance Service confirmed that one man in his 40s was taken to hospital after getting an electric shock and an elderly woman was treated for a head injury picked up in a fall.
An ambulance service spokesman said: “One man received an electric shock as he stood in the water. As a precaution, he was taken to Good Hope Hospital for further checks.
“A woman who had fallen had a minor head injury that was treated at the scene.”
A West Midlands Police spokesman said around two million litres of water had been pumped out by the Fire Brigade.