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Flooding from Ronkonkoma water main break causes sinkhole, authorities say

A water main break caused a large sinkhole

A water main break caused a large sinkhole Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 2, 2016, around 5 p.m. on Smithtown Avenue in Ronkonkoma. A town truck fell into the sinkhole and had to be removed by emergency workers. Credit: Bryan Lopez

A 20-inch water main broke in Ronkonkoma and caused a sinkhole that trapped an airport maintenance truck Wednesday afternoon, the Suffolk County Water Authority said.

Gushing water from the pipe flooded Smithtown Avenue and business parking lots associated with Long Island MacArthur Airport.

Airport service and homes were not affected, but water service to eight businesses was shut down so repairs could be made, agency spokesman Tim Motz said.

Authorities got a call about the break at 3:15 p.m., and water authority crews worked into the night to close off three valves, Motz said. Once that was done, crews were able to start looking for the source of the problem and make repairs, he said.

Smithtown Avenue was closed in both directions between South Second Street and Marconi Avenue for the repairs. Motz said it was not clear how long the street would be closed and when repairs would be finished.

Due to the main break, part of the roadway collapsed and an airport maintenance pickup truck fell into the hole, Motz said. The driver was not hurt and the vehicle was pulled out, he said.

Initially, the eight businesses needed booster pumps to help maintain water flow but service shutdown was necessary for repairs, Motz said.

Details on the age of the main pipe and possible causes of the break were not available as crews worked into the night.

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