LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Water was deemed safe to drink for about 75 homes in a South Los Angeles neighborhood affected by a massive water main break Friday, officials said Monday night.
In the early morning hours Friday, several homes in the 300 block of East 55th Street were flooded after a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power 24-inch cast iron pipe burst. The flood of water also caused a large sinkhole to form in front of one home, swallowing at least two pickup trucks and leaving a few fully or partially buried in mud.
Crews shut down the flow of water shortly before 9 a.m. Friday, but not before streets, yards and driveways were flooded. Dozens of residents were displaced and had to be put up in hotels.
“It’s been hell, it’s been like we were living back in the days,” one woman said.
Five of the eight properties damaged by the water main break had been designated safe to access as of Sunday, and residents were given the option of returning to those homes, DWP officials said. Three residences needed clearance by the Department of Building and Safety before those residents can return.
The DWP reported that four vehicles sustained serious damage, despite the leak being substantially slowed two hours after the break was reported.
There was no word on what caused the water main break.
Hollis Ball, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1969, accused DWP of ignoring residents’ complaints prior to the incident.
“Somebody didn’t do their job, or they didn’t report it,” Ball said. Ball explaining that he stopped a DWP worker on 55th Street a week ago to notify him about a water leak on the block.
Water service was restored by late Sunday after the first round of water quality testing was satisfactory, but officials issued a boil water notice until there was satisfactory results from a second round of tests, DWP officials said. The results showed that the water was safe to drink and the boil water advisory was lifted.
Sections of 55th and 56th streets remained closed to traffic between Main Street and Avalon Boulevard.
DWP continues to provide lodging and meals for residents who need housing or prefer not to return home until their water service is determined safe to drink. All displaced residents were allowed to return to their homes to get personal items and necessities on Sunday. Affected customers have been given access to bottled water and portable toilets.
DWP crews continued to make progress on street clean-up and repairs, officials said. They spent Saturday night backfilling the section of 55th Street that ruptured.
Information on how affected customers can file a damage claim with DWP is available here.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)