Good news is that the water was handled by the sump pump. Bad news is a lot of water may have been billed. Not sure about the gas, as he shut the thing off without finding out if the thing had been fired up. The water coming out was cold, but at that flow rate, it could just be that it couldn't heat it fast enough. He did say he didn't hear it running. I'm hoping the water put the pilot out, but on the other hand, from where it was leaking, it sounds like it was the anode rod fitting area at the top of the tank that went.
Just wondering, does anyone have any experience in what happens with the water or gas company in a case like this. Do they expect full payment for the water/gas? Or if you can show it was an accident do they negotiate or give you a break?
Also, what are views on the landlord's responsibility for paying for the water/gas if the utility company does not? In the general case, where it just happens to say a reasonably new water heater, it would seem to me this is a grey area as to whether the landlord would be responsible to pay for water. In the case of a 20+ year old water heater, I think he has a much better case, as it's well known that these things usually fail long before that, so it looks like a case for negligence could be made.