Tenant busted after allegedly unscrewing fire hose valve, flooding SF high rise

A downtown San Francisco apartment building flooded on Tuesday morning after being vandalized by a resident. 

San Francisco firefighters were called to 100 Van Ness, a 29-story-high rise, around 5:30 a.m. because of an activated fire alarm. 

Water floods into the hallway of the 11th floor at 100 Van Ness in San Francisco. 

"It sounded serious so, we got out of bed," said Emily Igler, a resident. "I noticed all of this water on the floor here."

Officials say when they arrived at the building they found a man drenched, standing next to a pipe that was gushing water. 

Water gushes into a stair well at 100 Van Ness in San Francisco.

According to the apartment building officials, the man, 46-year-old Michael Nien, was a resident of the building. 

Residents say Nien opened the fire hose valve on the 11th floor where he lived sending a stream of high pressured water everywhere. 

"Water was gushing out. There was like a six foot tall massive spray of water coming out  ten feet down out of the water main," said Igler.

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Pictures posted on a 100 Van Ness community page show an onslaught of water gushing into an emergency stairwell.  Other residents say the water was gushing out with such force that it blew a hole in the wall. 

Hundreds of tenants were forced to evacuate their flooded homes. KTVU was on the scene and saw the damage first hand. 

Many evacuees went to a nearby Starbucks. One of Igler's neighbors told her another man on the 11th floor tried to step in and help before first responders arrived. 

"He physically stopped him from attacking the pipe," said Igler. "I guess the man who was attacking the pipe got taken away in an ambulance like he was having some kind of mental episode maybe."

Nein, was arrested and booked into San Francisco County Jail for felony vandalism and resisting arrest. Earlier this month Nein posted a message on the 100 Van Ness community page. "I cannot express the number of emotions I have for  the management of 100 Van Ness Avenue," Nien wrote about a conflict he was having with a neighbor he said was threatening him.

Apartment managers sent out a message to tenants nearly five hours after the flooring occurred. The notice said someone had vandalized the water system causing a massive outflow. 

Many floors were left with serious water damage. 

"We're definitely not staying here; like our bedrooms are squishy and there's water everywhere," said Igler.

Elevators at the high rise remain inoperable and tenants have to walk up and down as many as 29 flights of stairs. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact the SFPD at 415-575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 and start the message with SFPD.