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Drunk-driving crash into hydrant sends up geyser, collapses store roof, L.A. cops say

A fire hydrant cut off in a drunk-driving crash Sunday night in Southern California sent a fountain of water onto the roof of a nearby shoe store — causing it to collapse on people inside, The Los Angeles Daily News reported.

“I heard my manager scream,” said store employee Gildardo Valencia, KABC reported. “The whole ceiling of our store just collapsed inside the middle of the store, and water just gushing. And there’s little kids and customers in the middle of the store.”

A 10-year-old boy inside the store broke his leg, KTLA reported. The crash and subsequent roof collapse also hurt eight others, firefighters say.

The chain of events kicked off at 8:50 p.m. Pacific time in Canoga Park, part of Los Angeles, when two vehicles collided, The Los Angeles Daily News reported. One driver was later arrested on suspicion of drunken driving.

One of the vehicles smashed into a fire hydrant outside the Warehouse Shoe Sales store at De Soto Avenue and Sherman Way, sending water shooting skyward, KABC reported.

“It was a lot of water. It was a pretty good geyser,” said Battalion Chief Thomas Gikas of the Los Angeles Fire Department, according to KTLA. The crash also downed high-voltage power lines.

The weight of the water accumulating on the roof of the nearby shoe store caused it to collapse, The Los Angeles Daily News reported. Firefighters eventually shut off the hydrant.

The building has been condemned, KABC reported.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.
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