Islington flood: Furious residents compare burst water main damage to 'war zone'

Tap above to watch video report by Callum Watkinson

Furious residents whose homes were flooded by a burst water main described the damage as ‘something from a war zone’ after desperately trying to save their businesses and properties.

Dozens of buildings were damaged and several people rescued after water gushed along Hornsey Road in Islington on Monday.

People living and working there did all they could to fight the rising water, which was up to four feet deep in places.

Charlie Gumus, owner of a café in Islington, told ITV News: "We were preparing the outdoor eating area of the café, when I noticed a lot of water approaching the entrance.

"We were trying to fight the rising water with brooms - anything we could get hold of, mops etc.

"We realised that it was a hopeless battle against water", he said. Charlie and his colleagues were stranded in the shop until firefighters arrived and helped them get to safety.

"It was like a miniature tsunami, we saw zodiac boats,"

"The water just wouldn't stop rising, I just couldn't believe it", Charlie added.

Members of the London Fire Brigade help ferry local residents along Hornsey Road, Holloway, north London Credit: Press Association

The burst water main comes in addition to the problems businesses and residents have faced from Covid-19 and the cost-of-living crisis.

Charlie, and many others, feel they are facing a continuous battle.

Another business owner, Umut Yeter watched the drama unfold from home on a CCTV app.

"We kept checking the camera, as time went by everything was getting worse," Umut Yeter said.

"We came after a few hours and everything was destroyed.

"The fire brigade was pumping water away but it was like something out of a war zone", he said."It'll probably take a good few weeks, or months to recover from this - we have to throw away all of our perishables now."

"I don't want to sit down and do the numbers, it'll give me even more stress," he added.

The scene outside the Tollington Arms at the junction on Tollington Road and Hornsey Road. Credit: Press Association

Another resident, Elizabeth Hume, who's lived in the area for over 30 years, lost many treasured possessions, including her beloved book collection.

"Years and years of book collecting, gone. Some of them are irreplaceable.

"It's like losing a child, it's that bad. I feel bereaved. It's just as important as a bit of furniture," she said.

Some of Elizabeth's books date back to the 17th century, and many were bought on her travels to India and China - countries she says she may never be able to visit again.

A spokesperson for Thames Water said: "We’ve been using temporary pumps to restore water pressure levels and most customers should be back in supply and have their water pressure returned to normal.

"We’re starting the repair and our customer teams are supporting those affected by the burst."

The flood came as the UK experienced a growing water shortage in what forecasters described as an 'unusually dry August'.

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