A CLEAN-up operation is underway this morning after a high pressure hot water pipe burst flooding a block of flats in Southampton.

Fourteen residents had to be re-housed in hotels over night after a torrent of hot water jetted out on to the first floor and communal area of the Empire View apartments in West Park Road.

Fire crews from Hightown and St Mary’s were called at around 2.45am and spent more than two hours removing water.

Residents described the panic as very hot ankle-deep water poured through the corridor outside their rooms.

One woman, who did not wish to be named, said: "I looked through the peep hole in my door and there was steam everywhere.

"There was one lady in particular who was really distressed. I really felt for her.

"One of our neighbours who was walking around in the water had red feet because it was so hot.

"My daughter was really traumatised by the experience because there was a lot of panic."

It is thought the leak started in one of the flats and affected a number of others on the same floor.

Red Cross volunteers were called in to help look after residents as fire crews worked at the scene.

Those affected spent the night in a Jurys Inn hotel.

This morning First Wessex staff were on the scene to help with with clean-up operation.