While county officials said a water main break on New Year's Day was reported as a leak, recorded 911 calls flooded dispatchers as residents asked why no one had come out to fix the flooding.
"The main water source ruptured in the back of my yard. It's rushing, gushing like crazy," said one woman.
"This is an emergency. We have a flood out here," said another woman.
It took three hours for a Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer Department inspector to reach the broken 8-inch water main at Northwest 191st Street and 38th Avenue and verify that it was an emergency. It was another hour before the water was cut off.
By then water had flooded several homes.
"Everybody calls in what they consider to be an emergency," said department spokesman Luis Aguiar. "Your emergency may not be my emergency; therefore, we cannot afford to wake up everybody and to send a crew to every call that we get."
Only one employee was working who could verify the emergency on New Year's Day, said Aguiar.
"We don't have an unlimited budget and we only have the people that we can afford to pay," he said.