Ruptured water pipe turns streets into rivers, floods homes

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SAN DIEGO -- A water pipe broke and flooded some homes and North Park streets early Thursday morning.

The 30-inch diameter, cast iron water pipe broke within North Park Community Park, near the intersection of Polk and Oregon streets. A hydraulics crew from the City's Public Utilities Department shut down the pipe around 5:30 a.m.

The pipe is not directly connected to the water main, so no customers were without water. However, some customers may have low water pressure.

There are reports of water damage to some homes near the break, but the extent is not yet known.

At Lincoln and Arizona streets, the floodwaters turned an apartment complex garage into a swimming pool. Several cars were left submerged under water up to their bumpers.

"I was kind of blown away.  The water was running through the street here it was almost knee high in the street," said Chris Louiszer, tenant. "I got the white truck under there and a couple of scooters and few other things back there."

Special pumps were brought in to clean up the very toxic mess.

"The problem is they’ve got gas and oil in the water now, because it flooded with cars," said Louiszer.

Workers removed an estimated 28,000 gallons of water from the garage.

The damage also flowed to other areas in the neighborhood.  The first floor of Joe Carta's home was flooded out.

"Everything in my garage is ruined," said Carta.  "I have insurance, hopefully it covers, you never know these days."

Property owners who have damage caused by the water main break can file a claim with the City's Risk Management Department.

Personnel from the local chapter of the American Red Cross were sent to the area to assist residents immediately affected by the flooding. A temporary evacuation point was set up at the North Park Community Adult Center located at 2719 Howard Avenue, but has since closed. Those evacuated who still need assistance can call 855-891-7325. If people need help moving forward, they can call 858-309-1200 or go online.

San Diego police officers closed off Idaho Street between University and Polk avenues, University Avenue between Idaho and Arizona streets, and Lincoln Avenue between Idaho and Hamilton streets around 3 a.m. The streets reopened around 6:30 a.m. Traffic should avoid the area if possible while repair work is being conducted.

As of 5 p.m., the only remaining road closure was at the intersection of Idaho Street and Polk Avenue.

The water main was expected to be repaired and the road crossing re-opened by late Friday morning, the spokesman said.