Water Main Break Floods Several Blocks in South Los Angeles

Firefighters helped residents to safety as water levels climbed around their houses on East 55th Street

Water surrounded homes and partially submerged vehicles Friday morning due to a water main break that flooded several blocks of South Los Angeles. 

Video from NewsChopper4 showed a pickup and other vehicles partially submerged and homes surrounded by water gushing from the break near Main and East 55th Street. The intersection was one of several that flooded between 55th Street and Florence Avenue. 

A sinkhole appeared to have opened near the source of the break, reported at about 5:30 a.m. Los Angeles firefighters were at the scene, helping about a dozen residents to safety as water lapped at a home's front steps.

There were no reports of injuries.

Water continued to flow from the 24-inch pipe at about 8 a.m.

"We've had some concerns about why it took so long to turn the water off," said Eric Shavely, superintendent for LADWP. "When you have this much moving energy in a 24-inch water main, you have to shut it down slowly. Otherwise, it could have some reverberations through the system."

There were 12 valves involved in the shut-off process, Shavely said. 

Front-end loaders were being used to clear mud from streets. 

"This is severe," said Shavely. "We'll be working on this for approximately 18 to 24 hours before the water main is back in service."

It was not immediately clear how many customers were affected.

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