By John Ensor •
Published: 29 Aug 2023 • 10:43
Credit: Helsingin kaupungin Pelastuslaitos/Twitter.com
The residents of Helsinki’s Ullanlinna district were faced with a flooding problem this morning, but the unusual thing was the water was an incredible 75 degrees Celsius.
On Tuesday, August 29, at around 10:30, a district heating leak occurred on Pietarinkatu, causing the street to be shut down between Kapteeninkatu and Neitsytpolu. Samuli Saarioinen, the fire marshal on duty at the Helsinki Rescue Service, confirmed the severity of the situation, writes YLE.
‘The water temperature rising from the district heating leak to the street was about 75 degrees. If you step on it, you would probably get burns,’ says Samuli Saarioinen. The rescue service was quick to respond, arriving on the scene with three units, alongside the police. Their primary task was to caution pedestrians about the dangerously hot water.
‘Of course, the water cools down the longer it has time to flow down,’ adds Saarioinen. By 11:30, energy company Helen had managed to halt the leak. According to a subsequent release from the rescue service, the area has now been declared safe and the roadblocks have been removed.
‘The leak usually occurs in the drinking water pipes. District heat leaks are considerably rarer, but yes, there have been more of them over the years,’ estimates Saarioinen.
Helsinki, the capital city of Finland, is home to over 600,000 people. While the city is known for its robust infrastructure, incidents like this are relatively uncommon. District heating leaks are especially rare compared to more frequent issues with drinking water pipes.
The Helsinki Rescue Service initially reported the incident via the message service X, warning residents to steer clear of the affected area. ‘District heating leak on Pietarinkatu. Be careful, the water is scalding hot! The street is closed to traffic between Kapteeninkatu and Neitsytpolu. The hot water flows along Neitsytpolku towards the beach. The rescue service isolates the area with several units and patrols,’ read the message.
While district heating leaks are not common in Finland or other countries, this incident serves as a reminder of the importance of maintaining and regularly checking urban infrastructure to prevent such hazardous situations.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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