San Diego

Little Italy Apartment Flooding Suspect Was Soaked From Head to Toe: Witness

Residents of a Little Italy apartment complex testified Friday they believe the man they saw in their building soaked from head to toe is responsible for intentionally flooding their complex.

Francisco Morales, 38, is accused of turning on a fire hose and flooding the 1810 State luxury apartment complex in February. A judge heard testimony from building residents and a security guard and will determine if there is enough evidence to put Morales on trial.

Residents described waking up just before midnight on Feb. 24 to the sound of fire alarms and running water in the building.

“My apartment started flooding. Water started rushing in through the ceiling, through the vents and also under my front door into my apartment,” said one woman whose lease was terminated. She lived on the third floor of the building and lost thousands of dollars’ worth of personal property.

NBC 7 was ordered by the judge not to identify any witnesses testifying in the case.

Another man living on the eighth floor said he walked outside of his unit to see water pouring straight out of a water valve, known as a stand pipe, used by firefighters. He identified Morales as the man he saw soaked from head to toe inside an elevator.

A police officer responding to the scene said the valves were opened on stand pipes located on all eight floors of the building, allowing some 40,000 gallons of water to gush out and spill to the ground floor.

A security guard testified he was called to the sixth floor and saw water seeping under a door leading to a stairwell.

“Once I opened the door it came gushing out, all of the water. And then he (Morales) had a fire extinguisher just spraying it and the entire hallway,” said the security guard.

The guard escorted Morales via the elevator down to the lobby. But then he said Morales ran into a parking garage and dove into water that was almost three and a half feet deep.

Morales was initially detained by fire crews and later arrested by police.

Testimony is scheduled to carry over to Monday, at which point a judge will decide if there is enough evidence to hold Morales over for trial on vandalism charges.

Morales is being held on $1 million dollars bail.

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