Twelve homes were evacuated early this morning when a river of mud gushed into a Daly City neighborhood after a water main broke nearby, a fire department spokesman said.
Firefighters were called to a neighborhood near Hillside Park at 4:24 a.m., North County Fire Authority spokesman Matt Lucett said.
An 8-inch cast-iron pipe leading down from a nearby water tank had ruptured, sending about 45,000 gallons of water downhill, he said.
The flooding went down Lausanne Avenue and affected a handful blocks coming off that street including Bonnie Street, Clayton Court, East Moltke Street, Ford Street and Price Street.
No homes were flooded, but streets were left covered in a layer of mud so thick it reached the top of parked cars' wheels.
"It had undermined a hillside, so there was a lot of mud and debris that was flowing (toward) several streets in the neighborhood," Lucett said.
The 12 homes were evacuated as a precaution, and no injuries were reported, he said.
"We did open up an evacuation center with the Red Cross there," Lucett said.
Evacuees were directed to the Teglia Community Center, but as of 8:30 a.m. no residents had sought shelter there, he said.
"My last report was that there was nobody physically there other than the Red Cross," Lucett said.
Daly City public works crews are working to clean up the mud, and engineers are assessing the integrity of the hillside.
Clayton Court resident Angel Vega, 83, was in his flip-flops late this morning, shoveling mud out his driveway. He himself was covered in mud.
"I thought it was raining," Vega said of his reaction when the main broke. "It was much worse.
Another Clayton Court resident, 36-year-old Eric Reyes, said he woke up to the muddy mess at 6:30 a.m. He said was unable to get himself to work and his son to school because his car was stuck.
"No one has informed us of anything," said Reyes, who works in nursing at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco. "We're getting all our information from reports on TV."
He said his family wasn't asked to evacuate and that his home still has water service.
"We're pretty much stuck here," he said.
Lucett said there was a shutoff valve between the water tank and the spot where the rupture occurred, which allowed crews to stop the water flow relatively quickly.
He said the cause of the water main break has not yet been determined.
It is not yet clear when the evacuated residents will be allowed to return home. Several streets in the area remain shut down.
Patrick Sweetland, director of water and wastewater resources for Daly City, was at the scene this morning as trucks scooped up mud at Lausanne Avenue and Clayton Court. The mud was consolidated into a pile that was being hauled away bit by bit in dump trucks.
— Bay City News