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Hundreds evacuated in San Juan Capistrano as creek bed collapses

December 22, 2010 | 12:49 pm

About 400 residents and 20 businesses in San Juan Capistrano have been evacuated after a wall of the swollen Trabuco Creek collapsed Wednesday morning.

Emergency crews have been called in with heavy equipment in an effort to stabilize the creek bed with rock, officials said.

Dan Dwyer, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, said authorities were notified of the breach at about 8:15 a.m. and began evacuating homes and businesses on both sides of the creek.

 The heavy flow of water in the creek reportedly caused the concrete panels on its western side to collapse. The panels on the eastern edge of the bed also were damaged by raging storm water.

La-me-san-juan-capistranoDwyer said it's critical that the sides of the creek be stabilized to prevent further erosion. The emergency crews had not arrived as of noon.

In addition to the rainwater, a water main in the area burst at about 11:50 a.m., compounding the situation, officials said.

The breach occurred just south of Del Obispo Street, where a bridge runs over the creek. People gathered along the bridge to watch the raging, muddy waters.

Evacuated residents have been offered shelter at a local community center.


Homeless evacuated near downtown Laguna Beach

Koi swept onto streets from Laguna Canyon commercial pond

Motorist rescued from channel after calling for help on cellphone

-- Sam Allen

Photo: Muddy water rages in Trabuco Creek, just south of Del Obispo Street in San Juan Capistrano. Credit: Sam Allen / Los Angeles Times