(David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)
Water gushed into the Prudential Center today from a leaky pipe and forced 2,000 people to evacuate the 52-story skyscraper, sending waves of office workers down stairwells and onto the streets of Back Bay.
(Reader submitted photograph)
A pipe cracked on the second floor and sent water cascading into a shopping mall on the first floor. The flood disabled many of the tower's elevators, forcing office workers on the upper floors to make a 40-minute climb down the stairs.
No injuries have been reported and the extent of the flooding was not immediately clear, said Steve MacDonald, a spokesman for the Boston Fire Department. Firefighters were able to use some of the elevators to assist some of the evacuees on the upper floors.
The pipe that broke is a part of the air conditioning system and runs to the 51st floor. The pipe ultimately connects to two 30,000 gallon water tanks on the roof. It was not clear how much of that 60,000 gallons flooded into the building, but there were some indications that the water tanks may be nearly empty, MacDonald said.
One office worker, Damon D. Jones, said he walked down from the 48th floor and did not see any puddles until he reached the third or fourth floor. More water pooled on the ground floor, but even then it was not ankle deep.
"People were very calm," said Jones, who had wet shoes.
The owner of Prudential Center, Boston Properties Inc., issued a statement this afternoon about the burst pipe.
"The Prudential Tower was the only area that was impacted," the statement said. "All other areas of the Prudential Center, including the parking garage, remain open and operational. Clean-up is underway and the Company expects the Prudential Tower to be operational shortly."
Firefighters responded to the call at 10:43 a.m. Water quickly pooled in the building's first floor shopping mall.
"There's water on the floor, more than two inches," said Abdul Kandil, store manager at a Dunkin' Donuts in the shopping mall on the first floor.
Nearby at Ann Taylor Loft, employee Katy Suchocki said she was told by security guards to close the store.
"We saw an inch of water, steadily coming down," Suchocki said.
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