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LENOIR, N.C. -- A fire hydrant that broke loose from a main water line left residents in Lenoir and the southern and western parts of Caldwell County with little to no water Tuesday evening and into Wednesday morning.

The break occurred at the intersection of Andrews Circle and Connelly Springs Road.

Radford Thomas with the City of Lenoir Water Department said the break occurred when crews laying fiber optic cable on the Connelly Springs Road hit a fire hydrant and knocked it loose around lunch time Tuesday.

Crews were attempting repairs when the fire hydrant leg broke completely free from the main water line around 8:30 p.m.

Crews were able to fix the water main break around 7 a.m., but asked residents in the affected areas to turn water faucets on in their house to release the air pressure in the pipes to their homes. Officials say they expect to have the water cleared of contaminants by 5 p.m. Wednesday, but warn the process may go into the night.

A boil water notice remains in effect for much of Caldwell County. Additionally, the Caldwell County Water Department recommends that residents not use the water for washing clothes or taking showers until the all clear is given.

Thomas says the first water to come through their faucets will likely be dingy but is safe to use. Water should begin flowing by 7 a.m. or so to the homes.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation shut down the Connelly Springs Road from intersections at Pleasant Hill Road to Clarks Chapel Road to all but local traffic for repairs. The roadway reopened around 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Residents in Lenoir city limits and in and around the towns of Baton, Sawmills, Cajah Mountain and Hudson were primarily be affected by the break. All Caldwell County residents were asked to conserve water until repairs were completed.

Officials said Caldwell County Public Schools will operate on a three-hour delay since there are several schools in the affected area as well.

Repair crews from three area water departments responded the scene and repairs are expected to last through the night and into the morning.

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