Water Main Break Triggers Flooding, School Closure in San Mateo

A 24-inch water main broke in San Mateo flooding St. Matthews Catholic School’s gym and boiler room Thursday. The flood began 45 minutes before classes were set to begin, forcing officials to cancel school for the day.

Classes also have been canceled Friday to allow crews to complete the cleanup.

The water main break occured in the area of South El Camino and Notre Dame Avenue on Thursday morning. (Feb. 8, 2018)

"A lot of damage to our building and our church," said St. Matthew’s Director of Student Affairs, Beckie Caldwell.

Near the school, on Aragon Boulevard, homeowners also suffered from the breakage.

"It came into our basement," said homeowner Shawn. "It was about two and a half feet high and in the backyard."

It took firefighters hours to pump the water out of their basements before Cal Water isolated the break to an area near El Camino and Ninth Street. As of late Thursday night, crews had made significant progress cleaning up the excess water and mud.

"In this case, thankfully, we have more than one transmission line," Cal Water District Manager Ross Moilan said. "So when we isolate this line, water is still able to be kept in service."

As students and parents began arriving to the school, they took a look, many worried that their brand new gym was damaged.

"The floor was really nice and it was very clean," said student Olivia DeCaro. "It smelled good in there."

Caldwell says the damage is fixable and they will get it done.

"It's a source of pride," she said. "Definitely hope to get it back up and running."

Work on pipe continued into the night.

NBC Bay Area's Anoushah Rasta contributed to this report.

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