A water leak inside an interior stairwell at a Turlock apartment complex caused a major flood and prompted the evacuation of multiple residents.
Just before 1 a.m. Sunday the Turlock Fire Department was dispatched to The Vista apartments at 900 W. Monte Vista Avenue for a report of a major water leak.
The leak was in an interior stairwell from a water valve that appears to have been intentionally opened, said Turlock Police spokesman Sgt. Russ Holeman. Detectives have been assigned to the case and are investigating it as an act of felony vandalism.
“Owner representatives were on property Monday to meet investigators and recovery contractors,” said Jennifer Gordon, director of communications for Amcal Equities, which owns The Vista. “They worked together to determine that the flood was caused by a single act of vandalism. Management is actively working with authorities to identify the perpetrator(s) and ownership has begun the process of installing locking valve mechanisms that will prevent this from happening again.”
A video from the fire department shows the stairwell on the first floor flooded up to almost the window and water sloshing through the hallways.
“Apartments adjacent to the stairwell had some penetration, but those on the first floor incurred a significant amount of water damage,” Gordon said. “As a result, management made housing arrangements for approximately 30 students who each have alternative accommodations until their apartment homes are restored. The majority of residents have been returned to their apartments.”
Isela Perez, a resident at The Vista on the first floor, said there was a couple inches of water in her apartment and that it had done damage to the flooring and bottom cabinets.
Crews assessed the leak and turned off several water mains to stop the flowing water. Electricity to the west wing of the building was also shut-off due to the extent of the flooding.
Turlock City Fire crews assisted officers from Turlock Police Department with the evacuation of multiple residents and were able to rescue a non- ambulatory victim from a first-floor apartment as the floodwater was rising. An AMR ambulance stood by until it was determined there were no related injuries.
The apartment manager was also on-scene and made all necessary arrangements for placement of the displaced residents into nearby hotels and vacant apartments and dorms.
Turlock City Fire responded with Engines 31, 33, and 34 and a battalion chief, totaling 10 personnel.
Any inquires or information regarding this incident can be addressed by contacting the Fire Marshal at 209-669-2119.