A hot water pipe burst in central Reykjavík on Wednesday evening, causing boiling water to stream down Laugavegur, the city’s main shopping street. Seven were taken to hospitals with burns.
According to RÚV, most of the victims suffered from second degree burns on their legs. Five have been released, but two of the victims, male adults, are being kept at the plastic surgery ward of the National Hospital and will not be released until after a few days of treatment.
The water pipe burst by Vitastígur 12, a Laugavegur sidestreet. Water streamed out of a 60-cm long tear in the pipe. The pipe was established in 1985 and may have been damaged for a long time, possibly a few years.
The 80 to 90°C hot water, which streamed down Vitastígur and Laugavegur, caused steam to rise in the shopping district, resembling a sauna or a hot spring, as described by RÚV.
Water leaked into shops by Laugavegur, both water and steam causing damages.
Police were notified of the burst water pipe around 10 pm. There were many pedestrians in the area at that time. Police closed Laugavegur and people were forbidden to go near the water.
Employees of Reykjavík Energy Company (OR) worked all Wednesday night on repairing the burst pipe by Vitastígur and were still not finished by noon yesterday.