SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Spurs' season opener was delayed for 50 minutes Friday night when a fireworks display triggered the Alamodome sprinkler system, drenching fans, players and coaches.
A high-pressure water cannon at the back of the stadium's eastern lower grandstand shot water out over the crowd shortly after the fireworks display that accompanied player introductions for the Spurs' game against the Golden State Warriors.
The cannon blasted water at pressures as high as 2,900 gallons per minute for four minutes, according to Alamodome director Mike Abington.
"It was a technical malfunction, " Abington said. "The response was shocking."
The fire-control system is triggered by ultraviolet sensors in the Alamodome roof. The sensors have a 30-second fail-safe delay to allow the system to be aborted.
This time, the sensor triggered the water cannon immediately, Abington said. Alamodome crews had covered the ceiling sensors because of the fireworks display, but one of the covers came off.
The stream initially hit only the crowd but gradually became stronger and reached the court. The Alamodome loudspeaker system urged fans to stay calm and not to panic.
Many of the hundreds of fans soaked by the water were sitting in the season-ticket area. Some broke out umbrellas and most took the surprise soaking in stride.
Members of the Republican National Convention site-selection committee were in the Alamodome when the mishap occurred, Spur President Jack Diller said.
"We obviously regret that this situation occurred," he said.