Two Los Angeles Department of Water and Power workers were hospitalized today after being exposed to carbon monoxide fumes from a generator being used to pump water from UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion in the aftermath of the pipe rupture that sent some 20 million gallons onto Sunset Boulevard and into the campus, authorities said.
The two workers were in fair condition after suffering the exposure Wednesday, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Katherine Main. They were believed to be the first people injured as a result of Tuesday’s pipe break.
Sunset was likely to remain closed until late Friday or early Saturday, as repairs continued, DWP spokesman Joseph Ramallo said. Authorities suggested using Wilshire, Santa Monica and Olympic boulevards as alternate routes, andencouraged motorists to carpool or telecommute.
Water flow to the 30-inch line was finally shut off around 9 p.m. Wednesday, a process that required the adjustment of 11 water valves, Ramallo said.
The 93-year-old water main, which carries water to the area from the Upper Stone Canyon Reservoir, ruptured on Sunset near Marymount Place just north of the campus shortly before 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, sending a geyser through Sunset and turning streets into rivers and portions of the UCLA campus into oceans of water and mud.
The gusher opened a roughly 20-foot-wide sinkhole in Sunset Boulevard.
DWP crews were dispatched to the scene, but due to the flooding and resulting traffic snarls, they didn’t reach the area until nearly 5 p.m., when they began to slowly shut off the 75,000-gallon-per-minute flow of water.
The problem involved a Y-shaped juncture of the 30-inch main with a 36-inch main, and at least two valves were still leaking east of the site of the break on Wednesday, said Jeff Bray of the DWP. Once repairs actually start in earnest, the work will be complex, officials added.
“Some of the problems that we’ve had, just like the pipe is 90-plus years old, the valves that shut off the pipe are also 90-plus years old. They don’t always work as they’re intended to,” according to Jim McDaniel, senior assistant general manager for DWP’s water system.
The UCLA campus remained open and summer classes were being held.
However, UCLA summer camps and the Fernald and Krieger childcare centers were closed, as were parking structures four and seven, which suffered severe flooding.
UCLA officials estimated that as many as 900 vehicles may be in the flooded garages, and it was likely to be Friday until the vehicles could be towed out.
No water service was interrupted to customers, and the water is safe to drink, according to the DWP.
Despite fire crews and university workers piling sandbags in front of entrances to UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, its floor and locker rooms “sustained significant flooding,” Athletic Director Dan Guerrero said.
About 8 to 10 inches of water had covered the basketball court, which was being used for volleyball practice when the flooding began.
While a decision was still pending on whether the floor should be repaired or replaced, Guerrero said in a message sent to UCLA fans that the arena would be “ready for our men’s and women’s basketball teams this upcoming season.”