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Starbucks, taco shop roof floods, collapses

Spewing hydrant dampens morning latte rush in Saugus

Posted: August 26, 2008 7:49 p.m.
Updated: October 28, 2008 5:01 a.m.

Employees from HAR-BRO, an insurance restoration contracting company, remove water-damaged roof insulation out of Chronic Tacos, in Saugus on Tuesday afternoon, after a spewing fire hydrant wet the restaurant and a neighboring Starbucks Coffee.

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An early Tuesday morning traffic accident sent water spewing from a fire hydrant in Saugus, causing the roof of a Starbucks and Chronic Taco shop to collapse.

An unidentified 21-year-old male reportedly fell asleep while driving and collided with a Southern California Edison utility pole and a fire hydrant at the corner of Bouquet Canyon Road and Susan Beth Way, said Lt. Brenda Cambra of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

The collision ripped the hydrant from the ground and water cascaded onto the roof shared by Starbucks and Chronic Taco restaurant. The water’s weight collapsed the roof and flooded both businesses, causing significant damage inside, Cambra said.

Mary Haskell, who lives across the street from where the incident occurred, was sound asleep when she heard the car crash into the light pole and the hydrant.

“I thought someone had hit my fence, so I jumped right out of bed,” she said.

She said traffic accidents are a common sight at the intersection.

The water continued to pour onto the roof of the building for 30 minutes after the collision occurred. Sheriff’s deputies were the first on scene followed by the Los Angeles County Fire department, Haskell said. Neither agency was able to turn the water off. A Santa Clarita Water Division field crew arrived at approximately 6:15 a.m. and turned off the water, Haskell said.

Firefighters and employees of the two businesses carried furniture and trash cans full of water out to the street throughout the day Tuesday. Clean-up crews removed ceiling tiles at Chronic Taco and the floors of both businesses were still wet in the afternoon. Moving vans were being filled with furniture and Starbucks employees were still cleaning up at around 2:30 p.m.

Store managers from Chronic Taco and Starbucks declined to comment.

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