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Broken water main floods neighborhood

Water reaches up to 3 feet on some streets in the Studio City neighborhood. Some cars, businesses and homes were damaged.

September 07, 2009|Corina Knoll and Ari B. Bloomekatz

Robert Lee was standing in his frontyard near the intersection of Coldwater Canyon Avenue and Dickens Street in Studio City late Saturday night when he heard a low rumble and saw water at his feet.

Then he saw water gushing from a sinkhole.

"Maybe 10 to 15 feet in the air, and it was making a beeline for our front door," Lee said, adding that a friend with him was swept off his feet by the rushing water.

A rupture in a nearly 100-year-old, 62-inch water trunk line caused flooding several feet deep on some nearby streets, officials said.

Some cars, businesses and homes were damaged..

Large chunks of concrete were ripped from the ground.

Lee, a 41-year-old medical supplies business owner, stayed in his house even though it had as much as 3 feet of water in it at one point.

About eight other people from the flooded neighborhood stayed at a shelter Saturday night and some were scheduled to stay in a hotel Sunday night, officials said.

The trunk line broke at the intersection about 10:40 p.m. Saturday, according to officials with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said about 150 firefighters responded to the scene.

No one was injured, but one person was rescued from a car.

Crews stopped most of the major water flow by 3 a.m. Sunday, the DWP said.

The steel pipe, according to DWP officials, was among several mains in the area scheduled for replacement.

It did not carry water directly to homes but moved water between reservoirs.

DWP spokeswoman Kim Hughes said officials hoped to complete work on the pipe Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning, and to then begin street repairs.

About half a mile of Coldwater Canyon Avenue between Halkirk and Moorpark streets will be closed until the work is done, the DWP said.

Mohammad Abdul was working at a gas station and mini-mart at Coldwater Canyon Avenue and Ventura Boulevard in Studio City when he saw water flooding the street Saturday night.

"During the first five minutes the water came slowly, then it came fast," Abdul said.

After calling emergency services, Abdul called station owner Toros Deurdulian, who was at home in Granada Hills. Deurdulian listened to his cashier with a heavy heart.

A similar thing had happened in the early 1990s, and he had lost two days of business.

"We're a small business," Deurdulian said Sunday. "I couldn't be more frustrated than I am now."

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corina.knoll@latimes.com

ari.bloomekatz@latimes.com

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