By Jorge Casuso
September 11 -- A car was
swallowed in Sunset Park when a water
main broke on Euclid Street early
Saturday morning sending a torrent
of water down the block.
The “sink hole” just
south of Ocean Park Boulevard caved
in nearly five years after a much
larger hole in the neighborhood created
by a water-main break made national
headlines in December 2002.
“The rushing water moved some
of the sand fill,” said Gil
Borboa, the City’s water resource
manager. “It starts eroding
soil, which finds itself to the surface.
The pavement, having no support, caved
“The sink hole actually did
swallow the car,” Borboa said.
“It’s very rare.”
courtesy of City of Santa Monica
Main-line breaks take place a few
times a year, and the problem is pinpointed
quickly before the water -- which
gushes out at 100 pounds per square
inch -- can cause serious damage,
Ken Legaux, who was jogging in the
neighborhood when the water main broke,
saw the car slowly sinking as he ran
‘round and ‘round the
“I was taking my daily jog
and saw police and all these emergency
vehicles,” Legaux said. “All
of a sudden, I realized there was
a car going under. The curb started
to tilt down.
“The front left tire tilted
in, and the rear end was sticking
up,” he said.
As City workers scrambled to find
the shut-off valve, the water rose
to the top of the wheels of the seven
parked cars, Legaux said.
“I walked, came back, and the
car kept going under,” he said.
The other cars were “disappearing,
they were being towed away,”
said Legaux, who lives on 21st Street.
“By my third walk around, all
you could see was the roof of the
(remaining) car,” he said. “Evidently,
it was floating in the water.
“It was a hell of a sight,”
Legaux said. “I could not believe
Then, he said, he heard police yelling
at people to get back.
“The water was rushing down
Euclid Street to Eleventh,”
Legaux said, referring to the two-block
downhill drop. “A lot of debris,
rocks and sand” was being washed
down the street.
Borboa said the street was closed
“while we fished the car out
of the hole.”
The main line has been repaired,
and the street is being fixed, he
“It will take seven to ten
days,” Borboa said.