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Queens Chronicle

Astoria homes flood after main breaks

One hundred houses fill with three feet of water, damaging property

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Posted: Thursday, December 18, 2014 10:30 am

A water main break turned 23rd Street in Astoria into river rapids on Saturday morning, according to officials and residents.

Around 4:30 a.m., residents reported hearing water gushing from under the sidewalk and street near 24th Drive where Con Edison crews had been working the week before.

“The water just started gushing out into the houses right in front of the construction and then started streaming down here into our driveway,” a resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, said. “I live at the bottom of this driveway and I had about two feet of water in my walk-in basement apartment.”

According to the resident, a company named 911 Restoration arrived shortly after the break happened along with officials from the Office of Emergency Management and the Red Cross.

“[911 Restoration] started to help people clean things, dry out things. They set out different dehumidifiers and blowers to really dry out any water so no mold develops. That was a 72-hour process,” the resident said. “They’ve been around the neighborhood answering questions and trying to help as best they can.”

According to several neighbors, most of the cleaning has been completed. After removing dehumidifiers and blowers, 911 Restoration went into each house with a scanner to detect any presence of moisture. When the levels read zero, they move on to another house.

“It’s dry, but it’s not cleaned up,” the victim said of her basement. “There are so many belongings that have been damaged and there’s dust and dirt everywhere. I think they tried their best to work around what they could.”

Now, residents are waiting for their insurance adjusters to visit and determine what they’ll be covered for.

“Everyone has a homeowner’s policy, but since this is something that happened from the outside rather than the inside of the house, I guess there is still the question of who’s at fault. Either way, there’s going to be a lot of claims for damage and loss,” the resident said.

Fire officials determined 100 homes were affected by flooding, getting as much as three feet of water.

There were no injuries or fatalities reported, but an 81-year-old woman who lived directly in front of the water main and bore the brunt of the flood, was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

It has not yet been determined what caused the main to break, though it is suspected by residents the drilling done by Con Edison — now covered by metal plates — may have been part of the problem.

It could not be determined if a Con Edison team was working at the site at the time of the break.

“It’s been an incredible weekend, just crazy,” the resident said. “Everyone’s concern is the development of mold and how it’s bad for the structure and your health. Now we just need to deal with the aftermath. It’s about getting all the pieces back together and the money for damages that we’ll probably have to shell out first.”

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