'Whole lot of fill' needed to repair Bay Shore sinkhole, says contractor

Emergency personnel respond to the scene where tow
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Emergency personnel respond to the scene where tow truck and other cars collapsed in sinkholea inside the parking lot of the AutoZone at the shopping Center on Middle Country Road near Mark Tree Road Thursday evening in Centereach on Aug. 14, 2014.(Credit: James Carbone)

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Contractors Thursday worked on building a wooden barricade around a large sinkhole in a Bay Shore parking lot -- one of many sinkholes that developed on Long Island in the wake of a historic rainfall that hit the towns of Islip, Babylon and Brookhaven especially hard.

"We're building a wall to keep people away," said contractor Gary Micheletti, while onlookers snapped photos of the sinkhole.

The hole was at least 10 feet deep and larger than a sport utility vehicle. Micheletti said it would take "a whole lot of fill" to fully repair the sinkhole.

Christina Hinderer was working at the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Wednesday morning around 9 a.m. when she saw the parking lot depression form after a car drove over the spot.

"It started dipping down, and we blocked it off," she said.

The cafe had to close about two hours later after management decided the sinkhole could become dangerous.

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The cafe lost about a couple thousand dollars in sales because of the closure, and business remained sluggish Thursday, said manager Samantha Scherger.

Hinderer said last year a small sinkhole about the size of a watermelon developed in the same spot.

"It was really small and the dirt was still there," she said. The center's landlord patched up the hole, and "they said this time they are going to fix it the right way."

Meanwhile, Brookhaven Town reported 22 sinkholes in various streets.

In Centereach, two parked cars became stuck in sinkholes Thursday and one was stuck Wednesday in a lot in front of AutoZone when the pavement gave way, according to an AutoZone employee.

A Crown Victoria and a medium-sized tow truck sunk into the blacktop of the parking lot around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, the employee said. Both cars were towed out in the late afternoon.

Suffolk police Sixth Precinct officers were at the scene Thursday evening, securing the area where cars seemed to be susceptible to sinking.

Elsewhere in Brookhaven, town crews pumped out a half-million gallons of water from West Bartlett Road in Coram.

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Flooding at the town-owned Pennysaver Amphitheater at Bald Hill in Farmingville caused the cancellation of a Friday night concert, "Party 105's Summer Madness." Promoters expect the venue to be cleaned up in time for Saturday's show, featuring Little Big Town, Eli Young Band and The Henningsens.

Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said the theater sustained electrical damage, and seats in the pit area at the foot of the stage were flooded.

"It was two to three feet high on the stage," he said, referring to water damage.

The town Thursday delivered American Red Cross flood kits to homes that were damaged by the storm. The kits include buckets, brooms, mops, scrub brushes, sponges, gloves, garbage bags, bleach and other cleanup material. The kits also will be available Friday free of charge at Town Hall, 1 Independence Hill, Farmingville.

Town officials still were assessing storm damage Thursday.

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"We believe that the damage done to the town will cost several million dollars" for road repairs, unclogging storm drains and cleaning out sumps, Romaine said. "We suspect the damage to personal property is in the millions also. So this was an expensive storm."

With Candice Ruud

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