Burst heating pipe causes chaos in south Warsaw

A burst heating pipe carrying hot water from Warsaw's Siekierki thermal plant sent plumes of steam into the freezing-cold air in the southern part of the city, halting traffic and trapping hundreds of motorist in their vehicles.

The Warsaw mayor has summoned a crisis team to tackle the problem.

Aleksandra Zurada, spokesperson for the heating network operator Veolia Energia Warszawa, told PAP that that the breakdown disrupted heating and hot water supplies across Warsaw. "For the time being we're not talking about lack of heating supply. So far we know there has been a disruption, water pressure and temperature may be lower," Zurada said.

The temperature in Warsaw was below 0 degrees Centigrade when the heating pipe burst on Wednesday morning. About 200 vehicles, including 7 buses, were trapped in the incident, firemen had to aid some 100 motorists, the Fire Brigade said on Twitter.

The hot water created a 600 metre-long pool, the Fire Brigade also said, adding that there have been reports of flooded cellars and garages.

After a meeting of the crisis team, Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski said the breakdown should be repaired by 10:00 pm. He added that the repair costs will be fully covered by Veolia.