WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 20, 2012, 06:10 PM

57-year-old Gary man sent to hospital after collision with Napa van

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - It looked like a scene from a movie car chase at the corner of 8th Street and Center Avenue in Moorhead.

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - It looked like a scene from a movie car chase at the corner of 8th Street and Center Avenue in Moorhead.

Around 10 this morning, police say a NAPA delivery truck ran the light on 8th, and was hit by a car driven by a 57-year-old man from Gary, Minnesota.

He was taken to the hospital and released.

The NAPA truck then hit a fire hydrant and ended up in the parking lot of the auto store.

What happened after the crash was a series of water main breaks along Center Avenue which has led to the part of the street being closed to traffic.

This morning this street looked like a series of little geysers flowing into a lake.

From every crack and crevice along Center Avenue water pours into the street. The pavement itself gives way to the incredible water pressure from below. When a hydrant is hit, this is not supposed to happen.

Greg Doeden, Moorhead Asst. Fire Chief: “Normally when you hit a fire hydrant, it will shear the hydrant off and the valve stem up on top which goes down to the valve box in the ground, normally it won't do any damage. It's meant just to shear off. So we can shut the valve off or public service can shut the valve off in the ground.”

The van hit the hydrant with such force that it pushed it over 50 feet away.

Matt Andvik, Moorhead Public Service: “I haven't seen anything like this.”

The force of the collision likely caused what's known as a water hammer to occur underground.

Andvik: “It's like taking a 2 liter bottle and pushing the water to one side and quick going back to the other side and that water pressure going through there just finds the weak spots in the water vane.”

Here over a block away at the old Muscatell Chrysler, water is coming out of the building itself.

So why the field of mini geysers and not one big one? That’s because the shut off box is buried deep under the street due to our cold climate.

Doeden: “You shear off a hydrant down south it is possible to have water shooting up in the air.”

And in this case that deep junction may have enhanced the problem.

Some water did get into the old Muscatell building. Moorhead public service says that this stretch of Center Avenue will likely be closed at least through tomorrow.