RACINE — Ryan Reid had watched the news coverage of the streets flooding in Texas from Hurricane Harvey, but on Tuesday he awoke to a curb-to-curb flooding event of his own outside his house at Arlington and Hamilton avenues on the city’s south side.
“I took a double take,” Reid said. “I literally looked out my window and said, ‘Holy cow! Wait a minute. It didn’t storm.’ Everything else was dry but water was bubbling up in front of a house.”
Racine Water Utility crews said the 20-inch water main burst at about 7:30 a.m. and sent hundreds of gallons of water into the street all the way north to 21st Street.
Reid was shocked to find his Honda Accord with water up to the doors.
“It was a nice car. It flooded the inside, up to my seats,” Reid said. “It didn’t start at first.”
Reid let it dry out a bit and was able to start it and move it into his driveway, then pulled everything out and opened it up to dry out.
“You can’t resell it when the water gets over the rocker rails. You don’t know what, if any, electrical damage there is,” Reid said. “Now I’m going to have to call my insurance agent and do all that fun stuff.”
Hugo Maldonado rushed over to help his friend after water poured into his basement from the break. His friend said he had just put all of the materials needed for a kitchen remodel in the basement when the water rushed in.
“The water was knee-high, but they had all their stuff in there,” Maldonado said. “It is bad but it could have been worse.”
In all, four houses in the 2100 block of Hamilton Avenue were flooded in the break, including Jesse Ramos’s 1,000-square-foot basement. He’s lived in the house for 25 years and was sad to see his “man cave,” complete with a bar, big-screen TVs and a playroom for his grandchildren, damaged by the water.
“We stepped on in and it was splashing all over. We jumped on it (the flood) right away, but I’m probably going to have to rip it all out,” Ramos said.
Water Utility crews pulled the relatively newer pipe out of the street and replaced it by afternoon, then filled in the hole by 5 p.m. Crews said new concrete, which will be installed by a private contractor, may take two weeks to complete.
“We’re hoping the city will take care of the damage. Who are you going to blame? Not us. It’s not like we did anything to cause this,” Ramos said.
Chad Regalia, the Water Utility’s chief engineer, said that the main break was unrelated to the 19 that took place in one day in Racine earlier this month. He added that crews had isolated Tuesday’s break by about 8 a.m. and worked throughout the day to remedy the situation.
The cause of Tuesday’s main break remains under investigation, Regalia said. Utility General Manager Keith Haas said no abnormalities had been discovered as of 6 p.m. Tuesday.
“There weren’t any pump changes,” Haas said. “Everything was constant pressure. We don’t have a definitive known issue.”