Water main break reported in Midway District

Roads closed, businesses impacted by break

SAN DIEGO - A water line ruptured and flooded a busy Midway-area commercial district Friday.

The broken 8-inch-diameter plastic connector pipe underneath Riley Street, near Camino del Rio West, began inundating traffic lanes, sidewalks and businesses just south of Interstate 8 about 11 a.m., according to the San Diego Water Department.

At least two commercial spaces -- housing a muffler shop and a nude-entertainment club -- wound up flooded, SDWD spokesman Arian Collins said.

Repair personnel were able to halt the overflow about noon, he said.

Several businesses along nearby Kurtz Street were without water service until 1 p.m., according to Collins. About a half-dozen others on Riley Street were expected to remain off-line through the afternoon. The city sent in a "water wagon" for the affected workers.

The mishap forced the closure of Riley Street from Camino del Rio West to Kurtz Street, along with two blocks of the latter roadway.

At the high point, officials told 10News the water gushed at 1,000 gallons a minute.

Christine Rapata manages an adult book store called Hi-Lite. It was one of about a dozen businesses impacted by the break.

"A customer came in and said, 'Oh my God! The street exploded, there's water everywhere,'" Rapata said.

"It's a mud sludge; it's nasty," she said of the muddy mess.

"As I understand it from the business owners here, they're kind of used to flooding, usually because of the rains, and many of them still had sandbags in place," said Maurice Luque of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

Some business owners told 10News several pipes have burst in the area for different reasons. Some were old, but these were new. In fact, Collins told 10News the pipes were installed the night before as part of a water improvement project.

"Something happened to the connector that connects two different pipelines," Collins explained.

On top of the moat that was keeping people out were a clientele that did not care to be spotted by emergency crews and television cameras.

"Oh absolutely! Some of them ran out, and I don't blame them," Rapata said with laughter.

Crews expected to have water service fully restored to the area and all affected roadways reopened by 9 p.m., Collins said.

Click here view images of the main break.

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