Police and fire departments responded to a 3:30 p.m. call for a "major water leak" that has "the potential for a roof collapse" at the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, Suffolk County Police said. The entire mall is being evacuated, police said.
The evacuation began at 4 p.m., a mall spokeswoman said, as a precaution, with at least 25 stores affected by leaks. New York & Co. was forced to close about 3 p.m., she said, and at that time the mall wing leading to the Lifestyle Village outdoor shopping area had also been closed, she said. No structural damage was reported, she said.
By 6:30 p.m., the mall was evacuated with just a few cars remaining in the parking lot.
Smithtown Building Department Director John Bongino said one store looked "almost as if there was an open ceiling and it was raining."
The Smith Haven Mall, one of the largest on Long Island, has more than 140 stores.
Paul Llobell, deputy fire coordinator for Suffolk County, said that in one location on the roof there was a 7-foot snow drift.
Fifteen fire and police departments from around the county responded to the scene.
Bongino said mall management will have to call in a structural engineer to determine the mall's structural safety and when it can be reopened. He said it will be done in coordination with the Town of Smithtown Building Department.
The mall spokeswoman said it was unclear Monday night whether the mall would open as usual on Tuesday. She said work had to be completed and inspected first.
With Bill Mason,
Zachary R. Dowdy and AP