Flooding from water main break results in resident evacuations

ST. GEORGE — St. George Boulevard and surrounding roads turned into rushing rivers of sorts as emergency crews evacuated people from their homes after a water main broke Friday night.

A broken water main above 500 East and 163 North caused major flooding in the streets as the St. George Fire Department evacuated residents from a nearby RV park, St. George, Utah, Sept. 23, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
A broken water main above 163 N. 500 East causes major flooding in the streets as the St. George Fire Department evacuates residents from a nearby RV park, St. George, Utah, Sept. 23, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The water main that runs from the water tank on Red Hills Parkway burst open at approximately 10:45 p.m. in the area of 163 N. 500 East, St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said.

Water and mud rushed down the hill into the Hillside Palms RV & Mobile Home development and surrounding businesses near the Zions Plaza.

St George Fire crews arrived on scene and quickly evacuated several residents from affected trailers in the RV Park, Stoker said. No injuries were sustained.

The rushing water caused earth to wash out from underneath some of the mobile homes themselves. Several water-carved gashes in the foundations below some of the homes were visible, in one case exposing piping beneath a mobile home.

Residents from two of the affected trailers were not able to stay in their homes for the night due to extensive damage to their residences, Stoker said. They had other accommodations for the night, but the Red Cross was on hand to assist with any needs.

A broken water main above 500 East and 163 North caused major flooding in the streets as the St. George Fire Department evacuated residents from a nearby RV park, St. George, Utah, Sept. 23, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News
A broken water main above 163 N. 500 East causes major flooding in the streets as the St. George Fire Department evacuates residents from a nearby RV park, St. George, Utah, Sept. 23, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

Some businesses along 500 East sustained minor damage, Stoker said. Several inches of thick mud blanketed the business’s parking lots and sidewalks.

“We’ll come back in the morning and just do some safety checks along with the water department to make sure everything is handled,” Stoker said.

Water Services was on hand and was able to isolate the break and shut off the water to prevent continued flooding.

The cause of the water main burst is currently unknown, said Scott Taylor, St George Water Services director, who was at the scene. The cause won’t likely be known until the morning when Water Services crews will have a chance to inspect the damage.

A broken water main above 500 East and 163 North caused major flooding in the streets as the St. George Fire Department evacuated residents from a nearby RV park, St. George, Utah, Sept. 23, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
A broken water main above 163 N. 500 East causes major flooding in the streets as the St. George Fire Department evacuates residents from a nearby RV park, St. George, Utah, Sept. 23, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

On the hillside overlooking the RV Park, water from the ruptured main cut out a large hole. From above, the hole looked as if it had been carved out of the hillside by a giant spoon. At least 4 inches of mud that was once a part of the hill settled in the street below once the water was shut off.

The path of the water and mud from the hillside flowed onto 500 East. From there, the muddied waters traveled west down St. George Boulevard until reaching 400 East. The street lived up to the old moniker of “Flood Street” as the muddy red water made its way south and eventually dissipated.

A large loader from Water Services worked to remove debris and mud from the RV Park driveway.

Energy Services, streets crews and a Gold Cross ambulance also responded.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

St. George News senior reporter Mori Kessler contributed to this article.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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3 Comments

  • old school September 25, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    Seems to have been alot of water main failures, instead of the city manager chalking it up to another “Act of god”, they need to start coming up with a replacement plan for the aging services. The affects are becoming increasingly disastrous and the city has yet to provide any compensation to those affected

  • RealMcCoy September 26, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    This article needed a few more pictures.

    • .... September 27, 2016 at 12:12 am

      The pictures would of made more sense if there was an article that came with them.

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