LOS ANGELES — The quiet summer campus of UCLA found itself suddenly steeped in water and chaos after a major water pipe burst and spewed some 8 million gallons, stranding people in parking garages and flooding the school's storied basketball court less than two years after a major renovation.
The 30-inch, nearly century-old pipe burst under nearby Sunset Boulevard on Tuesday afternoon, sending water 30 feet into the air, opening a 15-foot hole in the street and inundating part of the campus that was soon swarmed with police and firefighters.
"Unfortunately, UCLA was the sink for this water source," UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said.
The break came amid a historic drought when residents are now being threatened with $500 fines for overuse.
"We lost a lot of water, around 35,000 gallons a minute, which is not ideal in the worst drought in the city's history," City Councilman Paul Koretz said.
The flooding hit the part of campus that is home to its athletic facilities, with the greatest danger coming in a pair of parking structures that quickly began filling with water.
Firefighters, some using inflatable boats, saved at least five people who were stranded in the structures where more than 100 cars were stuck, city fire officials said. No injuries were reported.