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‘A Lot of Teslas’ Destroyed as Flooding Tears Through San Francisco Garage

Written by Julie ZigorisPublished Jan. 09, 2023 • 2:37pm
The New Year’s Eve storm flooded Alioto’s Garage on Folsom Street in the Mission, totaling 40 cars. | Courtesy Chris Alioto

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The massive rainstorm that pummeled the Bay Area on New Year’s Eve flooded Alioto’s Garage on Folsom Street in the Mission, totaling 40 cars.

The destroyed vehicles included Porsches and “a lot of Teslas,” said owner Chris Alioto. Alioto’s wife also lost her Mercedes, and he estimates there’s hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage done to the shop alone. 

The flooding came up to waist high, according to employee Chiara Callahan, who claimed there was sewage in the water. 

Co-owners of Alioto’s Garage, brothers Chris and Matt Alioto, assess the damage in their car repair and body shop on Folsom Street. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

“It’s not safe,” she said. “We added bleach to the power washer and moved our offices upstairs.” Alioto noted there was debris—including hypodermic needles—floating in the water. 

Alioto blames poor maintenance of the city’s infrastructure for the devastating flooding. 

Flooding at Alioto’s Garage | Courtesy Chris Alioto

“Wind-driven rain blew debris down drains that were not properly maintained,” he said. Debris was responsible for breaking the steel roll-up doors, allowing the water level to increase so quickly, according to Alioto.

“It’s a lack of maintenance,” Alioto said, noting his garage has never had such an issue with water before—even during the King Tides 20 years ago. 

“They used to clear the drains every year, but they stopped during Covid, and they’ve never started again,” Alioto said. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has been contacted for comment. 

Alioto is now coordinating with other small businesses in the area, hoping to receive disaster relief from the Office of Small Business

Chris Alioto stands in his family’s car repair and body shop at 1835 Folsom St. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

Alioto’s garage specializes in collision repair and lost a majority of its parts—many of them with electrical components—in the flooding. 

Chris Alioto’s brother Matt has been working to individually clean parts with distilled water, and the business has filled three 40-yard dumpsters with debris. 

Alioto’s Garage is a third-generation family business that has been in operation at the Folsom location since 1974. Chris and Matt Alioto’s grandfather started the business in 1939, and the family now operates six locations in the Bay Area. The Alioto family say they are distantly related to the 36th mayor of San Francisco, Joseph Alioto, who served from 1968 to 1976.

While some disgruntled customers have vented their frustration online, Alioto said everyone must go through their respective insurance companies for claims.  

“We understand how hard it is, but we’re asking for patience,” Alioto said. “It’s a tough situation for everyone.” 

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Julie Zigoris can be reached at [email protected]


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