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Despite the cold winter weather, Almaty residents were risking a bad scalding this Monday. A pipe burst at the crossing of Raimbek and Seifullin streets and a huge amount of hot water was gushing out into the pavement releasing clouds of steam and threatening people’s feet and even more.
Five people have been injured. One of them — an elderly man – was scalded very badly when he fell in the nearly boing hot water. All the injured people have been taken to the hospital, and two of them were discharged the same day.
A passenger bus got stuck in a large pit indiscernible under the layers of water and steam. All the passengers had to be evacuated.
According to the Emergency Department of Almaty the accident cut 134 buildings from heat and water, including 3 schools, 3 kindergartens, 2 hospital and 63 multi-storey residential buildings and 33 private houses.
Several emergency repair teams were working at the accident site cut the water supply to the damaged section, pumping out the excessive water from the area to find the exact location of the pipe brake, digging it up and welding it. The blitz operation involved 100 people and 21 vehicle, and they managed to fully restore the heat supply in the area by in 4 a.m. in the morning.
The pipe broke because of the excessive tear and wear of the city’s utilities networks. These 800 mm steel pipes buried 5 meters below the surface have not been replaced since 1985. The company managing the utilities – Almaty Zhylu Holding – is planning to replace the section this year.
“This section of the heating network is 3 kilometers long. Two kilometers have been replaced and the remaining kilometer will be replaced this year,” Mikhail Korzhov, Almaty Zhylu Director General promised.
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