The problem started when a car backed into a sprinkler head in the building's garage.

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BELLEVUE — A Bellevue Fire Department spokesman says a sprinkler-system problem flooded a portion of a high-rise apartment building, forcing some residents to temporarily leave their homes.

Fire Lt. Richard Burke says someone backed a car into a garage sprinkler head Tuesday afternoon, setting the system off. But instead of remaining a small issue in the garage, highly pressurized water found a weak spot in the line and started gushing out 27 floors above.

Burke estimates that between 20,000 and 30,000 gallons of water were involved.

Firefighters say units from the 27th floor down to the 16th floor have been damaged.