Lynette Watson watched her son cycle around the corner of Como Street and Carson Meadow Drive seconds before the water main underneath the street burst.
By the time she walked from her fence to the front door, she heard the sudden rush of gurgling water.
Watson said Wednesday afternoon she thought at first someone was over watering their yard. She turned to see water rushing down Como Street from a gaping hole in the middle of the road.
" A (water) main broke and the street caved in like a sink hole," Watson said while standing in front of her Sierra View apartment. "The water started coming out and then the dirt, and it had no place to go but up."
Next door, Lucy Medina, a housekeeper, was packing stuff into the back of her Ford truck for a trip to the storage shed when she looked down and noticed something strange. Her lawn chairs were floating down the street.
Her daughter-in-law was coming out of a coin laundry on Fifth Street when she saw water gushing down the road.
"She saw water come out of the street and went and told the manager," Vanessa Medina said, translating for her mother-in-law. "It looked like a river."
The sand trapped a Toyota Tercel and a GMC truck up to their hubcaps. A crack formed along the gutter, and the road raised several centimeters where the two cars were parked along Como Street.
The Tercel belongs to Christina Dixon, a receptionist at Spine Care Rehabilitation, who had come home for lunch before the water main broke about 12:45 p.m. Dixon called her office and said she probably wouldn't make it in for the rest of the day.
"I heard the water flowing. It sounded like a big old flood going down the street," Dixon said. "My car is stuck in the mud. I'm not going anywhere."
Tom Hoffert, Carson City public works operation manager, said 60 people in three apartment complexes lost their water until 3:30 p.m. The 8-inch water line cracked, causing water and silt to break through Como Street.
"This time of year with the temperatures and increased water flows and earth movement, that caused the pipe to crack," he said.
The 5-foot by 5-foot hole will be filled with gravel and sand before it is paved over in one to two weeks.
Hoffert said residents in the Fifth Street and Carson Meadow Drive neighborhood may have discolored water caused by stirred-up minerals and sediment. These residents should avoid washing white clothing until the sediment in the water mains settles again.
n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at email@example.com or 881-1212.