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L.A. water main rupture sends three-story geyser shooting into the air [Updated]

November 2, 2009 | 11:39 am

Watermain
A water main rupture this morning unleashed a geyser three stories high at the corner of Van Nuys Boulevard and Sherman Way.

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Fire officials and Department of Water and Power officials were on scene assessing the situation and trying to determine how to shut down the leak.

[Updated at 12:04 p.m.: Crews have contained the break, according to TV footage, and the nearly 20-foot geyser has been reduced to a steady flow of water rising through a hole in the street.]

Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott said no injuries or evacuations were reported, though there was street flooding. TV footage showed water shooting out of the street well above a nearby one-story building. It's unclear whether the building suffered water damage. The fire department responded to the call of flooding at 10:35 this morning.

This is the latest in a string of major water-main leaks in the Los Angeles area. Officials have attributed the leaks to the city's aging water system, but the cause of this rupture remains unclear. DWP spokeswoman Gale Harris said the agency was investigating. [A previous version of this post misspelled Harris' first name as Gail.]

[Updated at 1:04 p.m.: The part of the main that burst was a 54-inch iron pipe known as a “purple pipe” used to convey recycled water for irrigation and industrial purposes. The water is not hazardous to humans.

The break was not expected to interrupt regular water service to DWP customers, Harris said.]

-- Baxter Holmes

Photo: Moses Guardado watches as a geyser from a water-main break towers over local businesses at the corner of Sherman Way and Van Nuys Boulevard. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

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