Massive water main break in downtown Milford
People on the scene were calling it Old Faithful.

A water main broke on Helwig Street in downtown Milford Sunday evening at around 6 p.m., creating a giant geyser in front of the Flotilla building, which is next to the popular Scoopy Doos ice cream shop.

Fire official Chip Chapman said he’d never seen a water main break like that in town, one that sent water shooting far above the roof lines of the shops, restaurants and apartments in downtown.

A number of agencies were called to the scene, including local police and fire, water company, gas company, the United Illuminating Co. and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Officials had the giant upstream of water shut down at about 6:50 p.m., and then started to take a look at the amount of damage the break had caused.

Chapman said a man was walking downtown when he spotted brown water bubbling up a few inches from the sidewalk Sunday evening. The man walked to nearby fire headquarters to inform firefighters.

Chapman headed over to the scene, spotted the water, and said he could hear the sound of rocks moving. “It sounded like rocks shaking in a can,” he said.

He said an area of the roadway about 15 by 20 feet started to rise “like a souffle,” and then “she let go,” ripping a hole in the pavement and sending water skyward.

Chapman said there weren’t many people in the area, some at Scoopy Doos, so he was able to clear the immediate area before the water erupted.

He and Fire Chief Doug Edo said it was probably a good thing that the water shot straight up and out of the roadway as opposed to letting go sideways and creating a massive sinkhole.

Regional Water Co. Spokesperson Kate Powell said it would take six to eight hours to repair the break, which she said was to a 12-inch water main.

"Two valves have been throttled and the crew is notifying nine customers," she said at about 8 p.m. Sunday. "The customers affected are 20 Armory Lane, 2 and 40 Broad Street, 13 and 35 Factory Lane — 35 Factory Lane is a condo complex with three buildings — 0, 37 and 60 Helwig Street."