People ‘trapped,’ streets flooded by North Park water main break

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SAN DIEGO -- A 24-inch water main ruptured in the North Park neighborhood Thursday, flooding streets and prompting the closure of a North Park continuation high school as city utility crews worked to fix the leak.

The transmission water main broke at Idaho Street and Polk Avenue, not far from the iconic water tower, around 7 a.m. causing water the flow through the streets. The water stopped rushing from broken main around 9:30 a.m.

A woman told FOX 5 she and her neighbors were initially trapped in their homes on Oregon Street as water rushed down the road.  Many other residents told similar stories saying several inches of water were in their homes, garages and yards.

The transmission line was not connected to water meters, therefore none of the residents are without water, according to Arian Collins, city spokesman.  Some customers will experience low water pressure. Although, a resident on Idaho Street said otherwise.

Public utility crews will be working to repair the line and streets through Thursday night, Collins said.  Eighteen people were in need of finding temporary housing.

San Diego Gas & Electric crews shut off power to four apartment complexes near Idaho Street as a safety precaution at the request of the San Diego Fire-Rescue department, SDG&E spokesman Joe Britton said.

As of 10:05 a.m., around 80 customers were without power, Britton said.

Students at ALBA Community Day School, located at the corner of Oregon Street and Lincoln Avenue, were evacuated from campus and the school was closed for the day, said Jennifer Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for San Diego Unified School District.

San Diego police closed eastbound Lincoln Avenue at Oregon Street, southbound and northbound Oregon Street at Lincoln, westbound Lincoln at Idaho Street, westbound Polk Avenue at Utah Street, southbound Utah Street at Polk and the right lane of westbound University at Arizona Street, public-affairs Officer Billy Hernandez said.

In January 2017, a 30-inch cast iron water main broke at the intersection of Polk and Oregon. 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.

City of San Diego's Water Department said their crews are in the area investigating.

Homeowners and residents who need to file a claim due to damaged property should go to the City of San Diego's public liability website or call 619-236-7300.

Residents sent pictures and videos of the water flowing in the streets and damaging vehicles.

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