A major road was closed by the emergency services after homes were flooded with sewage as a result of a burst main. A series of pictures and video were posted on Twitter showing the murky deluge down Clapham Road in Kennington, south London.
There were reports that residents were being evacuated from their homes after being trapped by the filthy water. One pictures appeared to show the "stinky" water half way up the doors of basement flats.
Resident Lewis Whyld, who posted footage online, wrote on Twitter: "People now getting trapped by sewage in south London, firefighters evacuating properties."
In another post, he added: "Expect lower ground floor flats to be full of sewage in south London tonight, it's getting deeper too." A policeman at the scene told onlookers "It's sewage. It's stinky. It's gone into people's basements." A London Fire Brigade spokesman said: "We received a call reporting flooding in the area. Four fire engines are on the scene and Thames Water are on the way to try and fix the problem. It is very much an ongoing incident."
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "There is flooding on Clapham Road between Oval and Stockwell stations, which has been caused by a suspected burst water pipe. We are asking people to avoid the area." Neither the fire service or police force could confirm or deny whether it was sewage causing the problem.
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Local resident Angela Reynolds, 58, said: "The road has been made into a river. It's a bit like Somerset. It's not clear how they are going to stop it. The water is revolting, brown, muddy - well I hope it's mud. There are lots of basements around here. One of the houses has already been badly flooded. The water just flooded the road in 10 minutes. It was quite incredible."
Marcus Eyskens, 24, who was among the onlookers on Clapham Road, said: "It's blocked all the road. It's a lot of water. It'll probably take a few days to get it under control."
Several fire engines, police cars and an ambulance attended the scene near Oval Tube station, while a London Underground Emergency Response Unit were also deployed. Dozens of people stood on the edge of the brown water to take photographs. A Transport for London spokesman said part of Clapham Road was closed but the Tube was not affected.
A spokeswoman for Thames Water said: "A burst water main has caused flooding to Clapham Road. Engineers are on site working to manage the burst."