San Diego

Hydrant Geyser, Not Storm, Floods Bay Park Townhome Complex

Residents of a Bay Park townhome complex found themselves wading in nearly knee-high flood waters Friday, but unlike others across the county, a storm that drenched the county for three days straight wasn’t to blame.

Thousands of gallons of water poured into 10 units at the Pacific Racquet Club Townhomes on Monair Drive in Bay Park after a driver plowed through a fire hydrant up a nearby hill. The collision tore the hydrant from the concrete and caused a 30-foot geyser that upon landing formed a rushing river that flowed into the condominiums below.

“From inside when I came down the steps it looked like there was a waterfall,” resident Vanessa Stewart said.

She and her three children were asleep upstairs when she heard what she thought was the pouring rain.

"I thought I was going to sleep to the sound of the storm. I had no idea it was a gushing fire hydrant,” she added.

The water flowed straight into Stewarts condo and nine others. The flood was ankle deep in her living room and at least a foot deep out her front door. Firefighters insisted she be carried to safety rather then get out on her own.

Clean up crews wasted no time getting started but the job ahead is a big one. They’ll have to remove drywall, flooring and cabinets, according to Stewart. She’s only lived at the complex for a month, and has no idea when she’ll be allowed back.

"We all got out safe. We still have a place to sleep tonight. It will all be OK," she said.

None of the responding engines had the right size key to shut off the water, according to a San Diego Fire-Rescue Fire captain at the scene. The hydrant ran for some 45 minutes, witnesses said.

"It was quite a show. Like going to a national park. You know, the sound -- It had a little Yosemite quality,” witness Paul Eilert said.

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