Broken water main floods downtown street

A broken water main has flooded a block of Fir Street between Eighth and Ninth streets.

A passing fire engine spotted water gushing into the street near the intersection of Fir and Eighth streets just before noon, said Wayne Painter, a Medford Fire-Rescue battalion chief.

“We're talking thousands and thousands of gallons,” he said.

The water is draining naturally, Painter said.

Updated 12:30 p.m.) Rich Calhoun, Medford Water Commission operations supervisor, said crews had found and isolated the leak in an 8-inch cast iron water main without interrupting water service.

He said the pipe was installed in 1960. Dramatic temperature changes at this time of year can cause the ground to shift and crack pipes, he explained.

Crews from power and gas companies were called to locate lines, so water crews can dig up the area without damaging other buried utilities, Calhoun said.

— Staff reports