San Diego

Street Flooding Traps Doctor on Way to Naval Medical Center

City crews are working to clean up a huge water main break in North Park.

A doctor heading into work at the Naval Medical Center in Balboa Park became trapped in his car due to flooding caused by a water main break, San Diego police said.

A 30-inch cast iron water main ruptured near Polk Avenue and Utah Street just after 4 a.m. on Sunday and crews were still making repairs to the line more than 24 hours later.

The water moved into various storm drains and collected in a lower area along Florida and Pershing drives, prompting the SDPD to issue a SigAlert.

It took crews about an hour-and-a-half to close the line, according to San Diego spokesperson Arian Collins. 

A man who drove his red Pontiac on Pershing soon realized he was trapped and called 911 from inside his car. San Diego police arrived and helped the man get to dry ground. 

The water was about knee high at the time.

"Obviously he's not going to make it in for a while," said SDPD Lt. Christian Sharp. "His car is probably not going to be driveable and needs to be towed."


As of 7 a.m., the water had receded but police expected the road to be closed for several hours.

Closures were still in place as crews made repairs early Monday. A dump truck could be seen hauling away the broken water main.

"Anything from Pershing and 26th and Florida, that's all going to be shut down," Sharp said.

SDPD officers have not received calls from homeowners reporting damage but they are patrolling the area looking for any potential flooding.

Sharp said water levels can be deceiving at night. 

"If you have water that's completely crossing the roadway and you're really not sure, I would try and find another way around there," the lieutenant said.

NBC 7 spoke with a locals Monday impacted by the water main break, including a man who was vacuuming out his brand-new car, which sustained some water damage in the incident.

A woman who lives in the area was out walking her dog Monday and told NBC 7 the flooding came right up to her home. She called the incident a major inconvenience.

The City of San Diego said the city has been working to replace all cast-iron water mains over the past few years. The pipeline that broke at Polk Avenue and Utah Street was one of the mains that was set to be replaced with PVC starting this October.

All cast-iron water mains in San Diego are set to be replaced by the end of 2023, according to the city. Currently, there are fewer than 75 miles of cast-iron pipelines still in service.

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