Thousands of homes in Bradford were left without water or with reduced supplies after a massive pipe burst due to the cold snap.

The 30-inch main pipe in Cemetery Road, Lidget Green burst early yesterday shooting water and road debris more than 50ft in the air.

The road was closed causing long traffic delays, as Yorkshire Water employees worked throughout the day to reconnect the main with its water network.

The leak, which occurred between Duncombe Road, Birks Fold and Northside Road at about 9am, knocked out a connecting 11 inch main and also damaged a gas pipe, cutting off supplies to 42 properties.

Peter Spencer, who owns Piccolo Nursery in Cumberland House, situated close to the site of the burst, said: “We were contacted by staff and got there within 15 minutes of it happening. It was about 50ft in the air, it was throwing bricks up from the road and smashing windows.

“The floor rumbled and everything shook. The nursery was waist deep in water. It’s totally ruined.”

His partner Lisa Hardy, who was also at the scene, said: “I thought ‘I have never seen anything like this in my life’. The water was nearly as high as the building and it’s a four-storey building.

“The staff followed our emergency evacuation policy and got all the children out immediately. I’m very proud of them.”

Michelle Williams and Karen Thurlow, who work at Booker Cash and Carry in Cemetery Road also witnessed the dramatic event.

Miss Williams, of Fairweather Green, said: “It was 90ft high. It was absolutely mad, quite scary really. I’m absolutely gutted about my water supply. I’ve got three young children.”

Water supplies had returned to most homes by 4pm but Cemetery Road is likely to remain closed until at least Christmas Day.

A spokesman for Yorkshire Water said freezing temperatures were likely to have caused the main to burst.

He added: “We believe thousands of homes in south and west Bradford may have been without water or experienced low water pressure. We apologise to customers for this inconvenience and we are working as fast as we can to get everything back to normal.”

A spokesman for Northern Gas Networks said most of the properties without gas supplies were businesses in the area.

She added: “We don’t know when we are going to be able to turn the gas back on. At this time our main priority is safety.”

The cold weather also wreaked havoc in other parts of the district with police closing a road in Shipley yesterday afternoon after a motorist lost control of his car on ice.

An eyewitness, who did not wish to be named, said a car was travelling downhill in Thompson Street when it slid across the intercepting Taunton Street, trundled over the pavement and a grass verge and toppled down an embankment.

He said the car crashed through a wall before coming to rest on its side between the rubble and a block of flats, in Wycliffe Gardens.

Police were called to the scene at 2.30pm. A police spokesman said a two-year-old girl sitting on a back seat, and the driver, avoided serious injury and were treated at the scene by paramedics.

A decision was taken a short time later to shut the road to vehicles until conditions improved.

The snow also caused four schools to close yesterday and saw gritting crews from Bradford Council work throughout Thursday night and yesterday to clear roads.

Bradford Council Highways manager Kevin Whitaker said: “If more snow is forecast we will do our utmost to make sure the district’s roads are kept as clear as possible.”

More snow is forecast for today with temperatures expected to plunge to as low as -4 degrees.

Piccolo Nursery has been relocated to the company’s site in Bradford Road, Shipley.