The break at the connection between a fire hydrant and a 72-inch water main caused the road pavement to buckle and water to flood buildings on 41st Avenue neat 97th Street in Corona, a city Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman said.The connection probably broke because of the bitter cold temperatures, spokeswoman Natalie Millner said. A total of 11 buildings were damaged, although none suffered structural harm, and 20 people were aided by the Red Cross, she said. One homeowner was angry with the city because it did not shut the water off in the main until about 7 a.m."Why didn't the city close it when it happened?" asked homeowner Cutbert Rozario, looking down the stairwell Monday to his building's basement.Rozario, 35, owns 97-26 41st Ave., a four-family apartment building he bought 1 1/2 years ago, which he rents out to several families. The stairwell and doorway leading down from 41st Avenue was nearly filled with sand and earth, giving a partial view of the rubble and dirt in the cellar. Stopping the water was a complex process, Millner said.Workers "had to locate the course of the flow, then locate the valve which had to be turned off," she said."The road went up, the water bubbled up" by about four feet, making a pool of water in front of his building, he said, as he watched a dozen or so workers repair the curb and street. The water main connection was repaired Sunday, a spokeswoman said.Rozario lives about a block away and said the city should pay the damages because his insurance company would not since the city appeared to be to blame for the rupture.City Councilman Hiram Monserrate (D-Corona) echoed that view. "Saturday's water main break is the clear responsibility of the city," said Monserrate. "As crews continue to work to ensure residents' safety, we also must ensure that residents do not pay the price for damages done."Reach reporter Adam Pincus by e-mail at news@times
©2007 Community News Group
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