Residents were in shock Wednesday after a 90-year-old water main busted in Hollywood, sending 100,000 gallons of water into the streets, submerging vehicles and buckling sidewalks.
The break occurred about 2 a.m. in the 6400 block of Dix Street, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. Water continued to flow from the pipe, installed in 1926, just north of Franklin Avenue near the Hollywood (101) Freeway at 7 a.m.
Austin Wood looked out his window and saw his and his roommate's car completely submerged in water.
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"It's really surreal," he said.
Daniel Boror was in shock. His dad couldn't go to work and his sister couldn't go to college.
"We have to find ways to cope with the situation," he said.
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power workers were shutting the water down in phases in an effort to avoid damaging or destroying pipes. Sudden and strong pressure changes in pipes can cause more damage to the system.
When the water is completely shut off, crews will dig into the ground to begin making repairs. Breaks sometimes occur in winter months when pipes contract due to water temperature changes.
The main that broke Wednesday hadn't had a leak in a decade, officials said.
Repair work was expected to continue into Wednesday afternoon.
The LADWP reports about three water main breaks or leaks per day across its 7,200-mile network of pipes. Several significant failures occurred last year in the city's aging pipe system, including a break that sent 20 million gallons of water onto the UCLA campus and surrounding area, flooding buildings and parking structures.
If your car is flooded during a water main break, here are some tips on what to do:
- Call your insurance agent and confirm that you have comprehensive coverage, which protects you in these kinds of events.
- Your agent should get the ball rolling when it comes to filing a claim with the city, and letting you know what kind of paperwork you need to submit.
- Document everything: Take pictures of your car at the scene, any damage, keep receipts if you visited any shops or restaurants in the area. The goal is to be able to prove you were there when the break happened, to support your claim.