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Sentinel staff report–
Several lanes of Antelope Road were closed Saturday afternoon after a vehicle collision caused a 48-inch water main to spew a 75-foot geyser into the air for over two hours, causing flooding at nearby homes. The massive fountain of water could be seen in the air as far as the Antelope Road overpass above Interstate 80.
The incident occurred on Antelope Road near Auburn Boulevard around 4:18 p.m. and involved a vehicle that collided with a vent pipe for a 48-inch water main. The vehicle could be seen on its side for several hours after the incident. Police said the driver sustained minor injuries.
Firefighters were unable to shut the water off as it forcefully gushed out of the ground. A Citrus Heights Water District vehicle was observed arriving on scene around 30 minutes after the incident, but the water remained on until after 7 p.m.
Hilary Straus, general manager for the Citrus Heights Water District, said the water main was determined to be a Sacramento Suburban Water District pipe, although CHWD initially responded. He said SSWD crews later arrived at the scene and had the water flow “under control” sometime before 7:45 p.m.
In a tweet about the incident, Metro Fire estimated water was released at around 8,000 gallons per minute, which equates to just under half-a-million gallons per hour. The agency also tweeted video of flooding in nearby backyards and said fire crews aided with salvage efforts at four adjacent properties that sustained flood damage.
Citrus Heights Police Sgt. Dave Neher said the collision was not being treated as a crime scene, as there was no evidence of DUI or other criminal conduct. He said officers remained on scene to assist with traffic controls, with police closing down westbound lanes of Antelope Road at Mariposa Avenue for several hours.
Metro Fire Captain Chris Vestal previously told The Sentinel that collisions involving water lines like fire hydrants are “not uncommon” in the Sacramento area. He said valves that control hydrants can be located where firefighters cannot find them or get easy access to, in which cases firefighters will wait for water district personnel to arrive.
A 2017 hit-and-run collision outside Pioneer Baptist Church in Citrus Heights also resulted in water spewing in the air for more than an hour, with fire crews unable to stop the flow until a water district technician arrived.
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