A massive water tank on top of a Rancho San Diego hill overflowed early Friday sending a stream of water into a neighborhood below and flooding at least 7 townhomes.
The Otay Water District tank west of state Route 54 and north of Brabham Street flooded at about 5 a.m. sending a "major torrent of water coming down from the hillside" and into the homes in the Rancho Villas condominium community, San Diego Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Justin Fuller said.
SDFD firefighters arrived as thousands of gallons of water was gushing through the neighborhood below, and crews began evacuating people from about 10 homes in the complex, Fuller said.
Josh Hobart was one of them. He said he was awakened by firefighters knocking on his window telling him he needed to get out.
"I opened the door [to his room] and the whole living room was flooded," Hobart said, adding that he stepped into inches of water.
Patrice Bingham said she could hear the water streaming down the hillside.
"I heard water and I'm thinking, 'Is it raining?'" Bingham said. "Then I looked in the backyard and my son came downstairs, too, and I was just like, 'Oh, my gosh.'"
A representative from the Otay Water District arrived on the scene and discovered an overflow valve that had failed. The representative was able to get the system working again and the water was shut off, Fuller said.
But the damage had been done. At least seven homes were flooded with several inches of mud and water, Fuller said. Ten people were affected.
Cleanup crews worked throughout the afternoon to remove wet couches and soaked carpets from units.
Crews were also concerned that the water may have flooded the hillside enough to start a mudslide, but it appeared the water stayed in a concrete culvert so the issue was avoided, Fuller said.
SDFD crews remained on the scene to help residents move their possessions to higher ground. It was possible that the Red Cross would be called to help people with housing, Fuller said.
The fire department was working with the Otay Water District to assess the damage.
No injuries were reported.