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The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News



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Burst fire pipe on Boylston floods Target, forces evacuation, temporary closures

Ali Caudle
Boston police and Boston Public Works employees gather around the burst fire pipe that serviced the Fenway Target. Utility workers had to dig under the street in order to find and repair the source of the break.

A fire pipe servicing the Fenway Target at 1341 Boylston St. burst shortly before noon on Thursday, flooding multiple streets in the area and causing traffic delays ahead of a Red Sox doubleheader. 

Emergency response teams shut down water to the surrounding area until the source of the leak was identified, leading multiple businesses to temporarily close. With the entryway to Target flooded, shoppers inside were guided out through a back door, wading through the muddy water. Water service was restored approximately two hours after the leak was first reported. 

Angelica Obiedzinski, a biology major at Emmanuel College, was sitting at the counter by the window at the Tatte Bakery & Cafe across the street when the water started flooding out of Target. 

“I originally thought that it was a fire hydrant,” Obiedzinski said. “But then it just kept going and going and going. It was endless.”

Boston police initially reported a water main break on Kilmarnock Street in an alert posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, at 12:55 p.m. Thursday. 

The Boston Water and Sewer Commission, or BWSC, issued a correction on the platform at 2:06 p.m.

 “This is not a water main break, it is a fire pipe servicing Target,” BWSC wrote. 

The Boston Police Department and the Boston Fire Department did not respond to requests for comment by The News. 

Obiedzinski said she continued to watch through the window as emergency response personnel arrived and eventually shut down the street to motor vehicles. Dozens of firefighters, police officers and utility workers blocked off Boylston Street between Park Drive and Jersey Street. 

A small crowd gathered on the sidewalk in front of Tatte on Boylston to watch as the utility crew dug under the street to find the source of the break and repair it. 

Soon after the flooding was reported, water was shut off to the north side of Boylston Street. Several businesses were affected. Restaurants, including Eventide, Wahlburgers and Sweetgreen, posted signs on their doors announcing temporary closures until water was restored. A sign outside Saloniki Greek at 4 Kilmarnock St. stated the restaurant was open for take out only due to a water main break, and that no restrooms were available. 

The Van Ness Parking Garage attached to the Target on Richard B. Ross Way remained open, though flooding impacted the lower levels, according to Patrick Agyemang, a valet and parking attendant at the garage. 

Northeastern second-year journalism and international affairs combined major Caroline Kenney was shopping at Target for groceries before her 1:30 p.m. class when the pipe burst. She said she was evacuated via the back door after Target staff went around the store informing shoppers they needed to leave. 

She said shoppers were confused as to how to get out of the building. “They told us we could use the elevators, and then they said it was locked,” Kenney said. “They led us down the escalator, … through the water which was just foul.” 

Water service began to be restored and BPD officers asked businesses affected by the shut-off to test running their water at approximately 1:40 p.m. BWSC tweeted that water service was restored to the area at 2:06 p.m. 

Fans en route to the Red Sox game against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park experienced minor motor vehicle and pedestrian delays. The 1:35 p.m. game was rescheduled to Thursday afternoon after a rain delay Wednesday night, the second time in four days the Red Sox have played a doubleheader after rain postponed a game.

Water floods the first floor of the Fenway Target and Boylston Street outside of the Fenway Target. Employees had to evacuate shoppers down the escalators and through the water. Photos courtesy Caroline Kenney.


About the Contributor
Ali Caudle
Ali Caudle, Projects Editor
Ali Caudle is a second-year journalism major with minors in law and public policy and women's, gender, and sexuality studies. She's projects editor in her second semester serving on The News' e-board. She spends her free time working with babies and wandering through Boston's various neighborhoods. Follow her on Instagram @attributedtoali or on Twitter @alicaudle for updates.
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