An early-morning break in the Enterprise Canal, near Sunnyside and Shepherd avenues in north Clovis, flooded streets, fields and at least two homes early Thursday.
The raised earthen bank caved in between 4:30 and 5 a.m., according to Bill Stretch, assistant general manger of the Fresno Irrigation District.
Heavy machinery was brought in the close the break, but not before the water spread south along Sunnyside Avenue.
Water inundated the area around one home, which was tented for pest control, according to neighbors. It was not clear how much damage was done to the interior of the home.
Water flooded the tennis court of another home nearby but did not damage the residence, which was constructed above the level of the flood waters.
That was not the case for Patrick Purcell, whose home in the 5000 block of East Cole Avenue, just off Sunnyside, got flooded.
“Oh my God,” said Purcell as he sloshed through a hallway. Wearing rubber boots, he pushed a foot down on carpet. A puddle of water emerged.
Purcell said he got a call from a neighbor around 5 a.m. that flooding was occurring.
“I walked outside and I saw this flood – this water flooding toward me like a river, like a huge torrent.
“And then, of course, it just came up the patio, and I kept watching it get higher and higher. And now it is just saturating the house. In every room there is damage.”
The floodwater was so high in his backyard, Purcell said, that he could not see his pool.
Purcell asked questions any homeowner would think of: “Who’s going to be responsible? Who’s going to pay for it? We don’t know.”
Gary Serrato of the Fresno Irrigation District said the canal may have been weakened by ground squirrels. He added that if the fault for the break lies with the district, it will pay affected homeowners for repairs.