DOZENS of people had to be evacuated from their homes and many are left facing repair bills for tens of thousands of pounds after a burst water main caused a flood.
Police carried out the emergency night-time evacuation as water levels surged above the height of parked cars in Leyland Road and Meikle Inch Lane in Bathgate, West Lothian, at around 2.30am yesterday.
The flooding devastated homes, damaged a nearby play park, roads and paths, and resulted in the closure of four schools. Emergency teams from West Lothian Council had to deploy sandbags to defend low-lying properties.
Scottish Water said the incident was due to a burst main in Meikle Inch Lane but said supplies to all affected buildings were restored rapidly.
It said six properties in Meikle Inch Lane were damaged, with a further nine affected in Leyland Road. The water was removed by firefighters using high volume pumps.
Residents spoke of their shock and anger at being left facing hefty repair bills. James Bryce, 48, who lives in Leyland Road with wife, Sharon, 46, and twin daughters Danielle and Sophie, 13, said: “When I came downstairs, the entire ground floor was submerged in eight to nine inches of water. I don’t know when we’ll get back into the house.
“I have two tiny dogs – a bichon frise and a pomeranian – that were in our utility room and shut in with a child gate. When I came in they were standing in water up to their necks.
“I have a granite tile floor that cost £5,000 and the water has started to go underneath and lift the tiles. The laminate flooring in the sitting room is ruined and then there were all the electricals – fridge-freezer, washing machine – all under water. The doors and the skirting are all warped. The water has even started to seep up walls. The damage is worth tens of thousands – easily.”
He added: “The water board was not very helpful. The assessor came in and took some photos and my name but there was no apology or sympathy. He simply said our insurance company would deal with the damage and left.”
Damian McGarry, 33, who also lives in Leyland Road, said: “Outside I saw a car covered in water – all you could see was the light of the security alarm. There were several cars that were complete write-offs.”
A Scottish Water spokesman said: “We are assisting a small number of customers affected by flooding damage and working to repair the burst mains, restoring the normal supply as quickly as possible. We would like to apologise to customers affected.”
COUNCIL SERVICES HIT
COUNCIL bosses in West Lothian said a range of services were affected in the flood.
Pinewood School, Blackburn Primary, Murrayfield Primary and Our Lady of Lourdes Primary all had to be closed because their water supply was cut off. It was expected that all four schools would reopen today.
A council spokesman said: “At 2.30am, a water main burst in the vicinity of Meikle Inch Lane and Leyland Road. The burst main caused extensive flooding to the play park area, roads, paths and internal water damage to a number of cars and houses.
“The council’s stand-by team was called out by the emergency services to provide sandbags to help protect low-lying properties.
“The team also arranged a pump to be put in place to help clear the deep water. The road network within this area was closed to traffic and was reopened at approximately 8.15am.
The council’s cleansing team was involved in the clean-up as wheelie bins and litter were left strewn across streets and collections were disrupted.