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Lake Balboa water-main break forces evacs

February 1, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A water-main break forced nearly 60 people from their homes in the San Fernando Valley early Tuesday morning. The break flooded 10 buildings, including an apartment complex.

Crews worked all morning to fix the water main on Vanowen Street near Woodley Avenue. Workers from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power were able to shut off the water after a few hours, but not before thousands of gallons of water flowed onto the streets and into homes.

A massive hole was seen where all the pressure collapsed the street. The water then spilled onto the roadway and flooded 10 buildings.

Tammy Tescaro and her mother tried to salvage anything they could from their waterlogged home. Mud and water ruined much of their things, and the two do not know where they will be staying the night.

"All my shoes are all covered with mud. The bathroom, too, is really flooded," Tescaro said.

Officials said the water reached a 3-foot wall, and nearly 60 residents had to be evacuated, including Rene Perez.

"It's horrible, it's horrible. It's a horrible feeling inside here," Perez said pointing to his heart.

Perez said he doesn't know how he will start over.

"I don't know where to sleep, I don't know where to go," he said.

Firefighters rescued a dog that was chained up in a kitchen. They heard the dog barking and kicked down the door to get inside.

Vanowen Street from Havenhurst and Woodley avenues remain closed for the rest of the day.

No injuries were reported. The cause of the break remained under investigation. The Red Cross is working with displaced residents to try to get them to a shelter.