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River of mud
November 14, 2012, 05:00 AM Bay City News Service

Giovanni Albanese Authorities say a broken water main is to blame for a flood in a Daly City neighborhood that left vehicles stuck in mud up to their wheel wells. The break early Tuesday morning unleashed tens of thousands of gallons of water from a city-owned reservoir on a nearby hill. The torrent brought mud from the hillside down to the area below.

Giovanni Albanese Authorities say a broken water main is to blame for a flood in a Daly City neighborhood that left vehicles stuck in mud up to their wheel wells. The break early Tuesday morning unleashed tens of thousands of gallons of water from a city-owned reservoir on a nearby hill. The torrent brought mud from the hillside down to the area below.


Twelve homes were evacuated early Tuesday morning when a river of mud gushed into a Daly City neighborhood after a water main broke nearby.

Firefighters were called to a neighborhood near Hillside Park at 4:24 a.m., North County Fire Authority spokesman Matt Lucett said.

An 8-inch cast-iron pipe leading down from a nearby water tank had ruptured, sending about 45,000 gallons of water downhill, he said.

"It had undermined a hillside, so there was a lot of mud and debris that was flowing (toward) several streets in the neighborhood,” Lucett said.

The flooding went down Lausanne Avenue and affected a handful blocks coming off that street including Bonnie Street, Clayton Court, East Moltke Street, Ford Street and Price Street.

No homes were flooded, but streets were left covered in a layer of mud so thick it reached the top of parked cars’ wheels. Clayton Court resident Angel Vega, 83, was in his flip-flops late Tuesday morning, shoveling mud out his driveway. He himself was covered in mud.

"I thought it was raining,” Vega said of his reaction when the main broke. "It was much worse.”

The 12 homes were evacuated as a precaution, and no injuries were reported. As of 11:30 a.m., all residents had been allowed to return home.

"We did open up an evacuation center with the Red Cross there,” Lucett said.

Evacuees were directed to the Teglia Community Center, but only one family with a baby had sought assistance at the site, Lucett said.

Another Clayton Court resident, 36-year-old Eric Reyes, said he woke up to the muddy mess at 6:30 a.m. He said was unable to get himself to work and his son to school because his car was stuck.

"No one has informed us of anything,” said Reyes, who works in nursing at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco. "We’re getting all our information from reports on TV.”

He said his family wasn’t asked to evacuate and that his home still has water service.

"We’re pretty much stuck here,” he said.

Lucett said there was a shutoff valve between the water tank and the spot where the rupture occurred, which allowed crews to stop the water flow relatively quickly.

He said the cause of the water main break has not yet been determined.

Cars were being towed out of the muddy area to facilitate cleanup efforts.

Patrick Sweetland, director of water and wastewater resources for Daly City, was at the scene Tuesday morning as trucks scooped up mud at Lausanne Avenue and Clayton Court. The mud was consolidated into a pile that was being hauled away bit by bit in dump trucks.

Engineers were assessing the integrity of the hillside.




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