A car hit and dislodged a fire hydrant at the intersection of 18th Street and South Van Ness Avenue after it collided with a car being used as an Uber just after 1 p.m. on Thursday, causing minor injuries and sending a geyser of water shooting skyward.
“It sounded like a Transformers movie,” said 16-year-old Julian Garcia, who lives on the block and said he heard the crash and ran outside as gallons of water washed over 18th Street.
Police blocked off the intersection that quickly filled with bystanders following a collision between a gray Honda traveling eastbound on South Van Ness Avenue and a black Nissan Cube traveling southbound on 18th street, towards Mission Street.
The driver of the Nissan was working as an Uber driver at the time of the crash, transporting a passenger while traveling along 18th street and crossing South Van Ness street.
The passenger of the Uber, Seth Claire, who was displaced from the SRO hotel on 29th and Mission streets by a five-alarm fire on June 18, could not believe his luck.
“I feel like I’m bringing bad luck,” joked Claire, adding that he was grateful that no one was injured. “Just like with the fire, it could have been worse.”
The Uber driver, who declined to give her name, said she saw the gray Honda encroaching from the left, showing no signs of stopping as the intersection’s traffic lights flashed red.
“They ran a red light,” said the Uber driver, who declined to give her name. “My car spun around and then their car hit the fire hydrant.”
“There’s no way that car is going to drive again,” said bystander David Campos (no relation to the District 9 supervisor), pointing to the crashed Honda.
A collision at 18th & South Van Ness streets caused a car to “veer off” hitting a fire hydrant, according to police pic.twitter.com/OC5nAZ2ot9
— Mission Local (@MLNow) July 21, 2016
Claire said he was in the backseat of the Uber when he “happened to look out the window” and saw the other driver “barreling” down South Van Ness.
“He slowed down just in time,” said Claire. “He hit right where I was sitting. I jerked really bad, and our car spun all the way around. The next thing I knew, there was water everywhere.”
After colliding with the Nissan, the gray Honda “veered off” onto the South Van Ness sidewalk, striking and dislodging a fire hydrant before coming to a stop steps away from Whiz Burgers Drive-in at 700 South Van Ness Ave.
“Whiz Burger got washed,” announced one bystander as a steady beam of water spewed into the air, washing over the intersection. At about 1:20 p.m., firefighters stood ankle-deep in water as they attempted to shut off the sheared hydrant while police officers redirected traffic.
Police who responded to the scene of the crash reported that while some of the car’s passengers sustained minor injuries, transports to the hospital were not necessary. San Francisco Fire Department spokesperson Jonathan Baxter said that the department received a call around 12:52 p.m., and that firefighters and paramedics “responded and evaluated occupants of both vehicles,” confirming that none of the occupants required hospital care. He explained that firefighters on scene were able to locate a nearby fire valve that effectively shut off the hydrant, and by 1:45 p.m. the area was cleared with only minimal flooding remaining in the intersection.