LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Families who remain displaced after a ruptured water main flooded their neighborhood got some holiday cheer, toys and other goodies when a team of Los Angeles firefighters dropped by on Christmas Eve.
The visit came courtesy of Los Angeles Fire Department Central Bureau Battalion 13 and the Spark of Love Christmas toy drive with an assist from the Department of Water and Power and managers at the Radisson Hotel Los Angeles Midtown near USC where roughly 40 residents -- including 20 children -- remained Monday even though their water service had been restored, authorities said.
“Not content to let Christmas be stopped, the LAFD and DWP worked together to ensure `Santa' delivered,” according to Margaret Sullivan of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
The “surprise” brightened a room provided courtesy of Radisson Hotel.
“Brand new toys lined the room as the children and their families entered” Sullivan said. “Gasps, wide eyes, smiles and then laughter fill the space, chasing away (if only for an afternoon) the sadness of the past two days.”
The toys came just one day after Mayor Eric Garcetti visited the families and gave out Target holiday gift cards.
Garcetti later tweeted about his visit.
“Visiting families evacuated from homes surrounding the 55th Street water main break,” he wrote “LADWP is working to repair and restore service to get everyone back home soon. Meanwhile, we're providing accommodations and holiday gift cards to make this tough time as comfortable as possible.”
That round-the-clock effort to restore water service and make other repairs ended Monday when the busted pipe was repaired, the damaged roadway re- paved and water service restored and declared safe to drink. The Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety removed red tags from the last three residences where there had been safety concerns and the remaining road closures were expected to be lifted today.
A boil notice that was issued Sunday was also lifted, meaning residents will no longer have to take precautions before using their tap water.
But DWP officials said they will continue to provide lodging and meals for residents who need additional time to transition back into their homes.
The ruptured 24-inch water main was reported at 5 a.m. Friday at 55th Street and Towne Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. It caused flooding and a large sinkhole, damaged homes and left some vehicles fully or partially buried in mud.
Crews shut down the flow of water shortly before 9 a.m. Friday, but not before streets, yards and driveways were flooded.
The DWP reported that four vehicles sustained serious damage, despite the leak being substantially slowed two hours after the break was reported.
“The shutdown process for the 24-inch diameter pipe had to be done carefully so as to not damage other pipes in the area,” a DWP statement said.
Sections of 55th and 56th streets were closed to traffic between Main Street and Avalon Boulevard. Firefighters assisted some residents in getting out of their homes and past the water that flooded their driveways and yards.
“The leak has caused property damage in the area, which will be assessed by on-site claim agents,” the DWP said.
Those whose vehicles were towed were directed to call US Towing at (323) 870-7100. They are located at 2119 E. 25th St. and no charge will be assessed.
Information on how affected customers can file a damage claim with DWP is available at www.ladwpnews.com/information-on-how-to-file-a-claim.
Photo: Getty Images