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Water main break causes massive flooding in Queens

Flooding caused by a water main break in Elmhurst, Queens, Friday swamped basements and first floors of homes and businesses, shut down streets and disrupted bus and subway service in the area, authorities said.

The break occurred about 8:30 a.m. at a construction site at the intersection of Queens Boulevard and Broadway.

Four buildings were evacuated for a short time. It took several hours to stem the flooding, the FDNY said.

Neighbors saw a geyser spouting about 10 feet into the air after the break, according to news reports. A deluge quickly followed, with construction workers seen standing in more than a foot of water in the middle of Queens Boulevard.

A Department of Environmental Protection spokesman said a 20-inch city main was struck during drilling at a construction site at the northwest corner of the intersection. Emergency crews shut down a number of water mains to discern which one was hit.

Over the next several hours, water slowly drained from affected roads into the sewer system. Streets reopened to traffic by 2:30 p.m., officials said.

The DEP said it will investigate the break, and that if it was caused by the construction company, it would be billed for the damage.


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