A water main break caused a sinkhole that damaged Ojai Avenue and the historic Ojai Playhouse.
It happened Sunday afternoon during a movie matinee. As the water poured into the theater, moviegoers were evacuated from the building..
Several residents said they are upset by the water loss during a drought and they said this isn’t the first time there has been a water main break in Ojai this summer or this year.
Golden State Water Company blames 80-year-old pipes in need of repair. A spokesperson for the district said they are working with local businesses and insurance officials to deal with repairs.
A lawyer for a grass roots groups called Ojai Flow said residents have been fighting the water company over water rates that are higher than their neighbors. They said infrastructure repairs should be made before more breaks occur.
Disaster crews hired to clean up the mud and water damage removed all the seats from the theater..
Sheila Cluff, the owner of The Oaks health and fitness destination spa across the street from the theater said some of her offices were damaged by flooding too.
The playhouse, that turns 100 next month, and the Jester restaurant next door are closed until further notice.