A small village was flooded by a farmer puncturing a water main, police believe.
The pipe, just outside Milford, Derbyshire, shot gallons of water metres into the air after it ruptured shortly before 11:20 GMT.
Villagers reported having to wade through muddy water in their homes and at least eight houses were evacuated.
Severn Trent Water said the damage had been caused by a "third party" doing work.
At about 15:50, the firm added, it had isolated the pipe so water was no longer coming out of it. But the A6 that goes through the village will be closed all night.
Local Ian Busting said his wife's florist business had been "ruined" by the flooding and she was "devastated".
"Someone will have to pay for all this. We have a large corporate order which needs to go out on Thursday. We'll have to find a way of completing the order."
Severn Trent said it did not believe anyone would lose their water supply but it was checking on the affected homes and businesses in the village.
Police closed a number of roads after they were called at about 11:20 GMT. A spokesman told the BBC: "It was very bad. As far as I am aware a farmer struck a water main and somehow that has sent water gushing down the field."
The A6 through the village is closed, as is Shaw Lane, Red Lane and Makeney Road at the junction with Derby Road.
East Midlands Ambulance Service added a hazardous response team was also at the scene and a shelter has been set up in nearby Duffield.