5:57 PM: Several residents will be displaced as a result of a major water main that ruptured today in San Francisco’s Visitacion Valley neighborhood,
flooding a school and some nearby houses, a spokeswoman for the city’s Public Utilities Commission said.

The affected residents are on Tomaso Court, near where the 42-inch main broke at about 11:10 a.m. on Sunnydale Avenue, SFPUC spokeswoman Betsy Rhodes said.

The residents had to leave because they are without both water service and power.

PG&E shut the power off to allow crews to safely clean up and repair the damage caused by the rupture, which left a hole several feet deep at the intersection, Rhodes said.

American Red Cross officials have responded to assist the displaced residents, Rhodes said.

As of 5 p.m., she did not have an estimate of how many residents will have to be displaced or how many homes were damaged by the flooding.

“It’ll be growing as people come home from work,” she said.

Service has since been restored to most of the SFPUC customers in the area. Anyone who is still without service or whose house sustained damage should call the city’s help line at 311, Rhodes said.

Much of the water from the main flooded into nearby Our Lady of the Visitacion church and K-8 school.

Students were taken from the school to a nearby park to be picked up by their parents or guardians, principal Maxie O’Rourke said.

O’Rourke said classes will likely be canceled at the school until as late as Sept. 10 because of damage to several classrooms, as well as the gym and administrative offices on campus.

“They’ll just get some extra vacation,” she said of the students.

Several blocks in the area were initially closed during the incident, but as of 5 p.m., only Sunnydale Avenue was blocked off between Peabody and Delta streets, Rhodes said.

The cause of the rupture, as well as a timeline for completion of the repairs, has not yet been determined, she said.

1:55 PM: Students have been evacuated from a school in San Francisco’s Visitacion Valley neighborhood, where a major water main break has shut down streets and flooded homes.

The 42-inch main ruptured at about 11:10 a.m. at Sunnydale Avenue and Cora Street, near the Cow Palace, said Catania Galvan, coordinator of citizen involvement for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

The cause of the break is unclear, she said.

Flooding was reported at Our Lady of the Visitacion Valley church and school, and students there were being escorted out of the school to a park nearby where they are being picked up by their parents.

Principal Maxie O’Rourke said school staff didn’t hear anything when the water main break occurred, “just looked out and saw the water rushing.”

She said the water had flooded the K-8 school’s gym, administrative offices and several classrooms, and that classes would likely be canceled until Sept. 10.

“They’ll just get some extra vacation,” she said of the students.

David Briggs, manager of water supply for the SFPUC, said at least five homes were damaged by the flooding and up to 2,000 customers are without water service.

Around 12:45 p.m., water was bubbling out of a hole in the ground at Sunnydale Avenue and Cora Street, and was streaming down Sunnydale Avenue toward Bayshore Boulevard.

A short time later, the SFPUC was able to shut off the water, and the flow stopped, leaving mud-caked gutters.

Part of the street near Sunnydale and Cora was caved in, with pavement in some areas broken up into chunks. The intersection was cordoned off.

Bus service through Visitacion Valley is being re-routed. San Francisco Municipal Railway’s 9-San Bruno line has been detoured around the affected area since about 11:20 a.m., Muni spokesman Paul Rose said.

The bus will not stop on Sunnydale Avenue between Cora Street and Bayshore Boulevard, he said.

Florentina Refuerzo, who lives on nearby Tomaso Court, said she had been alarmed when saw all the water this morning.

“I looked out the window and did not know what was happening,” Refuerzo said. “It made me scared.”

She said that at the peak of the flooding, the water was higher than the curb. She said a number of trashcans had been knocked down.

Another Tomaso Court resident, Rosa Armenta, who lives farther down the block, said water had seeped into her garage.

“I was just making breakfast, I couldn’t believe it,” Armenta said. She said the first thing she saw was “brown water coming down. There was just so much.”

An employee named Lilly at the Happy Donut at Sunnydale Avenue and Bayshore Boulevard said there were no customers coming into the shop because of the flooding.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do all day,” she said.

There is no estimate yet for when water service will be restored.

Photo: Dan McMenamin

Text: Dan McMenamin/Sasha Lekach

12:30 PM: A water main break is causing flooding in San Francisco’s Visitacion Valley neighborhood, city officials said.

The main break was reported around 11 a.m. at Cora Street and Sunnydale Avenue, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission spokeswoman Jean Walsh said.

Traffic is blocked in both directions on Sunnydale Avenue between Tomaso Court and Bayshore Boulevard, Walsh said.

She said the water has flooded a nearby school as well as some homes on Tomaso Court.

As of noon, crews were still working to shut off the water and repair the pipe, Walsh said.

An employee named Lilly at the Happy Donut at Sunnydale Avenue and Bayshore Boulevard said there were no customers coming into the shop because of the flooding.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do all day,” she said.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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