Main break water logs a dozen vehicles in SFO parking lot

At San Francisco International Airport a morning service disruption didn’t impact flights, but some vehicles. 

A dozen vehicles were waterlogged and caked in mud up to the wheels.

“Wait, I only thought this happens down in Louisiana, not here?!,” said Maria Gonzalez, an SFO electrical subcontractor, as she came to check on her SUV.

She was one of the lucky ones. Her Chevrolet Equinox sits high enough to avoid damage. Others weren’t so lucky. 
One man had to bail water out of his Toyota before being able to get in and drive it slowly to dry ground.

The trouble started around 11 a.m. Tuesday, when a 10-inch underground water main feeding into buildings 676 and 674 ruptured.

“We were all frightened because we just saw the water level rising and rising and it wasn’t stopping. And then we thought of our cars of course,” said Gonzalez.

About a dozen vehicles in lot 676 became inundated by the rising water. 

The pipe break comes a little more than 12 hours after a 4.5 magnitude temblor rocked the East Bay, sending shockwaves throughout the Bay Area. 

Airport officials said they’re investigating if there’s a link to Tuesday’s trouble.

“Still looking into it. It’s difficult to say at this point. We’re looking for the root cause. We would think if it was affected by that we would have seen this much earlier on given the time that this occurred. But still under investigation at this time,” said airport spokesman Doug Yakel.

While officials look for the “why,” affected vehicle owners focused on “how” – as in, how to get their cars to higher, drier ground in an adjacent parking lot. 

Elbow grease was required, with several maintenance workers pushing a Porsche Boxster into a parking spot, while the owner called her insurance company.

By early Tuesday afternoon, repair work had begun around the pipe break, with crews carving out a hole 20 feet in diameter and six feet deep. It’s not known how long it’ll take to fix, but airport operations are not impacted.