A large part of a street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn collapsed around 6 p.m. Wednesday and created a 20-ft by 20-ft hole that almost swallowed cars near 79th Street and Fifth Avenue. The street collapsed suddenly around a sewer line more than a century old.
Maintenance crews are working to repair the damage and determine what caused the pavement to sink suddenly. As the street sank, residents scrambled for safety. NBC New York reports that Christine Hansen, a resident, said: "I heard the fire engine and I got up to look out the window, and, 'Oh, my God, there's a hole in the street!'"
According to The Inquisitr, the hole threatened to swallow up cars. Several cars parked close to the collapsed portion were seen hanging precariously at the edge, New York Magazine reports.
NBC New York reports a woman, Maddie Flood of Bay Ridge, who parked her car on 79th Street, found it dangling over the hole. According to CBS New York, Maddie said she and her mother, Annette, parked the car and left it before the street collapsed.
Maddie and her mom went into their home after they parked the car. They brought out their dog a few minutes later and saw the car dangling over the sinkhole. She said: “We re-opened the door just to put the dog on the lead and there were tons of people around a hole and we were like ‘what’s going on?’"
ABC News reports Maddie's mother, Annette, said the hole “was big, it’s big. There was no dirt beneath the street. None. Once that cracked it was all gone."
Annette said: “We’re so blessed. If we were five minutes later or anything, we could have been in the hole. We narrowly missed being involved in something worse."
"If that had happened while we were in the car, it could really have been bad. Anyone passing could have fallen into the hole," Maddie said.
CBS New York reports it took nearly two hours to recover the car. “They put a band around the middle of it. I really don’t know how they got it out, but they did," Annette said.
Maddie praised the Fire Department workers. She said: “Our car was right under a high-pressure gas line, so there were so many intricate parts where it could have gone wrong and people could have really gotten hurt and we’re OK and everyone’s OK. So we’re very grateful.”
According to The Inquistr, reporters had speculated that crumbling infrastructure or unstable earth might have caused the collapse, but officials with the Department of Environment Protection (DEP) said it was caused by a sewer main that broke 20 feet beneath the surface. The main is more than 110 years they said. CBS New York reports the DEP said the main was a 50-inch sewer pipe.
Some residents have faulted city officials and accused them of causing the sink hole. The Inquisitr reports a witness said: “I just feel bad, I don’t think this should’ve happened. National Grid was working all weekend with jackhammers and I feel like they started something, you know these are old pipes."
Officials say the repair could last through the weekend.
According to NBC New York, this is the second time this summer a sinkhole has opened up in Bay Ridge, but fortunately no one was hurt.