Oak Bay residents are demanding to know why it took city crews hours to shut off a broken water main that eventually flooded their homes Tuesday.

At least nine homes in the Victoria suburb were affected after a botched attempt to install a fire hydrant on Bowker Avenue left water gushing onto the streets.

At one point an entire block was awash. Area man Christopher Olson said he watched as his living room rapidly took on water a foot and a half deep.

“It was pretty surreal,” Olson told CTV News next to a half-submerged bed. “There was not much [time] to think.”

Crews piled sandbags on the streets but were unable to prevent the water from flooding nearby residences. A pump was eventually brought in to help clear the scene.

Mayor Nils Jensen said he didn’t know why it took so long to have the water main shut down, but promised an investigation.

“I know our crews are working feverishly to shut it off at various valves here, and they finally decided to shut off the larger main valve,” Jensen said shortly before the flooding stopped.

The cost of the damage caused is unclear, and it’s expected to take days for homes to dry out and become inhabitable again.

With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Ed Watson