A water main broke in Ocean Beach Wednesday, sending water bursting from several cracks in the streets and rushing into a neighborhood, pounding into parked cars.
San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Capt. Todd Bechtel said a crew was responding to another call in Ocean Beach just after 11 a.m. when firefighters spotted a significant amount of water coming from Narragansett Avenue.
Bechtel said the water was coming from a ruptured underground water main. The water rushed out of cracks in the street, a sight the captain described as thousands of gallons of water, on a high point, rushing down very steep hills.
“It was an impressive amount of water,” said Bechtel.
Firefighters worried the water would cause the road to buckle and possibly create potholes or, even worse, a sinkhole. Crews quickly closed off the streets between Narragansett and Del Monte avenues, as well as parts of Froude Street, to prevent traffic from driving through the water. They also helped move parked cars out of the area.
Ocean Beach resident Jeff Oleksa, who has lived in the neighborhood for four years, was in his home watching television when he heard his wife yell out, “There’s a flood coming down the street!”
When Oleksa went outside to look, he was met with a rush of water.
“The water was just gushing from this intersection, down this street, and crashing up against the cars on that side of the street,” he told NBC 7. “It was coming out, really a good flow, out of there. It was coming down good.”
Oleska said it wasn’t raining outside, so he knew the water had to be coming from a busted pipe.
“It looked like a big storm, but it was coming up from out of the street,” he added. “I thought, ‘Holy cow, a pipe must’ve broken.’”
In addition to hitting up against parked cars, Oleska said the water made it difficult for people to walk outside. He said he spotted the neighborhood mail carrier putting on rain boots to continue her delivery route, but she had to stop because wading through the water became too difficult.
Eventually, two water main valves were capped by the city’s Public Works Department. Oleska said the water was flowing for about an hour before it was shut off.
Bechtel said no nearby homes or businesses were damaged by the water and no injuries were reported.
The cause of the main break is under investigation. Bechtel said city crews have been replacing a lot of pipes in the area, but it is unclear, at this point, if this incident was related to this replacement work.
Arian Collins, supervising public information officer for the City of San Diego, said the water main that broke was a 6-inch in diameter, cast iron main located at the intersection of Narragansett Avenue and Froude Street.
He said city crews were able to shut down the water main at around 12:40 p.m.
As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, Collins said seven customers were without water service due to the main break. Crews with the Public Utilities Department are working on repairs and expect to have service restored during the late evening.
Oleska said the water service at his home was not impacted.