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I have had a fitting (a nipple) on a hot water tank top connection rust out. I was able to dig out the remains and screw on a new fitting and fix it.

If this is not the case then you have an ordinary tank failure and the heater is kaput, fubar, fini.
 

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I had a GE go out on me a couple of months ago. I thought one of the connections was leaking but after checking and checking I called a plumber out to check and/or retighten or replace whatever. He told me that most likely since water was seeping from under the lid that the tank was gone.
Kudos to HD, they looked at the mfg date, verified that it was under warranty and replaced it!
 
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