Businesses flooded and Northeast Fourth Plain Road closed for hours Tuesday after a van crashed into a fire hydrant, causing thousands of gallons of water to spew onto Fourth Plain between 121st and 131st avenues in Vancouver's North Image neighborhood.
Two vehicles were involved in the crash, reported at 12209 N.E. Fourth Plain Road shortly after 5 p.m., according to Vancouver police Sgt. Mark Blaisdell. One of the vehicles sheared off the hydrant at the water main, sending a geyser into the air about 12 feet high. Blaisdell said one of the drivers was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries.
Water poured from the ruptured water line for about 90 minutes, covering all lanes of Fourth Plain Road and flowing into Fourth Plain Industrial, a business complex on the south side of the street, said Drew Tracy, Vancouver Fire Department battalion chief.
The road was closed for more than three hours as Vancouver city workers vacuumed up the water. The incident’s effects were seen on nearby state Highway 500, where eastbound traffic was backed up past the Northeast 112th Avenue exit during rush hour.
Tracy estimated that 3,000 gallons per minute pumped out of the water line, resulting in a 270,000-gallon pool.
A few businesses that were closest to the hydrant flooded. Workers at one of the businesses damaged by water, Advanced Flooring, placed carpet along the edges of the building to prevent more water from getting inside. A couple of the company’s vans were partially submerged in the complex’s parking lot.
Bob Dutro, who owns Garments on the Go in the southeast corner of the complex, said the water came up to his door, but his business was not flooded. Vancouver firefighters helped salvage some of the other businesses on the north end that were damaged by water.