Businesses clean up after flood from hydrant

4th Plain crash unleashed 382,500 gallons of water

By Patty Hastings, Columbian Social Services, Demographics, Faith



Businesses on Northeast Fourth Plain Road are recovering from flood damage after a van plowed into a fire hydrant last week, sending water into the road and a nearby industrial complex.

Rob Prentice, owner of RPM/Ira’s Muffler Shop, said it still looks like a typhoon came through the complex’s parking lot at 12209 N.E. Fourth Plain Road, with mud and rocks littering the pavement. City officials determined that an estimated 382,500 gallons poured out of the hydrant after the crash severed it from the water main.

Two cars were involved in the crash, which was reported shortly after 5 p.m. Feb. 18, and one of the drivers was transported to a hospital with minor injuries.

Prentice said that within 10 minutes of the hydrant breaking, water was almost up to the doors of his pickup.

“We never thought it would get as deep as it did,” Prentice said, who waded in water up to his knees that evening.

His muffler shop was open for business the next day. The building is on a hump, so he just had to squeegee water that sloshed into the waiting room.

Two businesses near the roadway on the complex’s east side — Markon!, a marketing company, and Advanced Flooring — fared worse, Prentice said. A few vehicles belonging to one business in the complexwere reportedly totaled because of water damage.

On the night of the crash, carpeting was placed along the edges of one building to help prevent more water from getting inside, and Vancouver firefighters helped salvage some of the other businesses’ belongings. On the Facebook page for Markon!, the company said wood floors in the front office were damaged, but otherwise the building was spared.

The cost of damages to the fire hydrant is estimated at $6,352, and there was $800 in water loss, according to Loretta Callahan, spokeswoman for the city of Vancouver’s Department of Public Works.

On Feb. 18, Northeast Fourth Plain Road was closed for more than three hours as Vancouver city workers vacuumed up the water. Traffic was diverted around the flooded roadway, causing rush hour traffic to back up on nearby state Highway 500.

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