Water main break floods businesses and school

August 28, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Buckled pavement and mud mark the spot where a water main broke Tuesday morning at the intersection of Sunnydale Avenue and Cora Street in San Francisco's Visitacion Valley neighborhood.

"Right now the whole focus is getting water service back to roughly 14 properties that are out of service right now," San Francisco Public Utilities Commission spokesperson David Briggs said.

For nearly three hours in the middle of the day, water gushed unchecked from a 42-inch pipe and ran east down Sunnydale Avenue. Crews had to wait for PG&E to power down a high voltage line directly on top of the pipe before they could begin to stem the flow of water. It flooded parts of Bayshore Boulevard before spilling into the bay. A large sinkhole also developed at Sunnydale Avenue and Cora Street.

Our Lady of the Visitacion School, just a sidewalk away from the pipe, took the brunt of the damage. At first teachers tried to block the water and move the students but gave up and finally evacuated them using picnic tables to get across the water. They walked a couple blocks to the Visitacion Valley playground to wait for parents.

Everyone was fine though it could take the school more than a week to re-open.

Several businesses also flooded, leaving owners to worry about damaged merchandise.

The investigation into what caused the break could take even longer. A construction crew was working in the area but the pipe was relatively new -- only six to nine months old.

"It's too early to tell; we know what broke, we just don't know why," Briggs said. "[It's] too early to tell, we haven't really been in the pit to examine it closely yet anyway."

Crews were able to cap the main by 1:05 p.m. Water service was impacted for Visitacion Valley, Bayview, Ingleside and some Daly City residents. Late Tuesday evening, 14 homes on Tomaso Court remained evacuated without power or water.


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