Updated July 30, 6:21 am ET
The University of California-Los Angeles began the task of cleaning up damaging flash floods Wednesday, after a broken water main spilled millions of gallons of water onto campus and nearby Sunset Boulevard.
The water main broke at around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, officials said, sending a 20-to-30-foot fountain of water gushing into the air. Water was shut off at around 7 p.m., but not before an estimated 8 to 10 million gallons spilled into the surrounding areas — including the historic Pauley Pavilion, where UCLA’s basketball teams play.
“Pauley Pavilion has taken quite a bit of water,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said on Tuesday night. “It’s painful. It’s a beautiful structure. We’re of course concerned. We’ve got to let it dry out and see where we are.”
The Los Angeles Fire Department sent inflatable boats to the area to assist in the rescue effort as the flood waters inundated campus athletic fields and underground parking lots, trapping at least three people in cars, the Los Angeles Times reports.
“This is the same thing you would have in any flash flood,” L.A. Fire Dept. Capt. Jaime Moore said.
Undeterred by the rising tide, students waded barefoot through the ankle-deep puddles. Some reportedly showed up with boogie boards, much to the displeasure of authorities. “That is probably one of the most dangerous things you can do,” Moore said. “For somebody to try and boogie board in this, it’s just going to be an asphalt bath.”
Classes at UCLA were due to proceed as usual on Wednesday, though Sunset Boulevard was expected to be closed to traffic until Wednesday afternoon.