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UCLA flood: DWP crews ready to begin welding ruptured pipe

DWP workers shut off flow of water to ruptured pipe that flooded UCLA with millions of gallons of water

Repair crews were able to completely shut off the flow of water Wednesday night to a ruptured main line near UCLA, clearing the way for workers to begin welding new pipe after an estimated 20 million gallons of water flooded the area.

A Department of Water and Power official told reporters around 9 p.m. that the flow was finally stemmed and that crews would continue working around the clock to repair the 93-year-old high-pressure line that flooded the school and created a huge sinkhole on busy Sunset Boulevard.

The Fire Department said six workers were treated Wednesday evening after they were exposed to exhaust fumes from a generator while they were helping pump out water from a flooded structure on campus.

Two of the adult male workers were taken to a hospital in fair condition, a Fire Department spokeswoman said, and the others were treated at the scene.

The pipeline, which ruptured on Sunset Boulevard shortly before 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, sent a cascade of water onto the UCLA campus for about four hours. The water deluged parking garages, sports facilities and campus buildings, including the Pauley Pavilion, where a recently installed wood floor will have to be completely replaced, university officials said.

The flooding also forced officials to close Sunset from Marymount Place to Westwood Plaza, complicating the busy morning commute for scores of Westside drivers.

UCLA officials said that around 900 vehicles were trapped in underground parking garages that were overrun with torrents of water. About half the vehicles probably were submerged at some point and suffered major damage, officials said. But some of the cars may be dry and not damaged, according to campus officials.

On Wednesday, UCLA spokeswoman Carol Stogsdill said the university believed that the DWP should be held liable for the extensive damage caused by the deluge of water that descended on the campus Tuesday.

“We’re keeping a running log of what this is costing, including anything we have to pay out," Stogsdill said. "This all comes under the DWP. This will cost the people of Los Angeles, not UCLA."

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