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Flooding … But Not Rain Impacts Downtown Oakdale
Looking much like a geyser, water gushed skyward from a sheared off fire hydrant along South Yosemite Avenue near the F Street intersection, with fire, police and Public Works crews all responding to the scene on Monday afternoon, Feb. 28. Traffic was detoured during the incident and minor street flooding occurred throughout the downtown area. Marg Jackson/The Leader

Sheared off by a motorist that hit the hydrant and ran, water was sent gushing straight up into the air at the corner of Yosemite Avenue and F Street in downtown Oakdale on Monday afternoon.

The Feb. 28 incident left many streets in the area flooded and traffic was detoured around the area.

Authorities said a vehicle struck and sheared off the hydrant on South Yosemite Avenue, near the Chase Bank building at the cross of F Street, and fled the scene. That part of the investigation is continuing.

“The water was flowing for about two hours,” Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer explained on Tuesday.

Oakdale Police Department, Modesto Fire Department crews from the Oakdale stations and the city’s Public Works Department all responded to the incident.

Whitemyer said initial attempts to shut off the water with the valve at the damaged hydrant were unsuccessful, as the valve was damaged.

“They had to find a different valve to turn it off,” Whitemyer said.

Eventually, the water was shut off but the geyser shooting water skyward at the main intersection resulted in plenty of water flooding the streets surrounding it, down past Church Avenue along East G Street, on to South Third, South Second and along South Yosemite Avenue, as well as creeping on to F Street.

Traffic was detoured around the flowing hydrant and the main intersection, though motorists still had to navigate through the flooded streets.

Still, Whitemyer said it was a quick response as crews jumped into action.

“They were all getting wet,” he said, adding that he was initially confused as he emerged from a meeting at the city’s Community Center after 5 p.m. to find the area flooded, but with a blue sky overhead and no sign of a storm.

He was quickly apprised of the situation.

“Public Works got it turned off,” Whitemyer said of the geyser, “but it was a team effort.”

Public Works personnel wade through the water collecting on East G Street following the shearing off of a hydrant on Monday afternoon. Marg Jackson/The Leader