Broken pipeline causes flooding, geyser, closed freeway exit near Hillcrest

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A broken pipeline at a Hillcrest commercial center sent a geyser of water surging 50 to 60 feet into the air for the better part of an hour today, turning part of a parking lot into a temporary lake and causing a mudslide that forced the closure of a freeway exit.

The flooding began shortly before 7:30 a.m., when a trucker behind the wheel of a big rig accidentally ran over a hydrant near a loading dock at a Ralph’s store in the 1000 block of University Avenue, according to the San Diego Police Department.

Video footage posted by showed two firefighters trudging and crawling through water several feet deep while trying to find a shut- off valve for the ruptured pipeline.

It took about 45 minutes to get the overflow under control, police said. In the meantime, the surging water flowed out of the parking lot and down an adjacent slope alongside state Route 163, downing a tree and sending mud, sand and uprooted weeds across the off-ramp from the northbound side of the freeway to eastbound Washington Street.

The mess prompted a closure of the connector until crews could clean up the roadway, the California Highway Patrol reported.

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