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Giant Brooklyn sinkhole could take days to repair

August 2, 2012 2:19:51 PM PDT
A huge sinkhole on a Brooklyn street may cause problems for a few days.

The 15-foot by 20-foot hole opened up on 79th Street near Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge Wednesday afternoon.

No injuries were reported.

The enormous sinkhole is the last thing neighbors along 79th Street wanted to see in the middle of their block.

"I couldn't believe what my eyes saw. It's awful," Dorothy Still said.

Making things worse for still and several other neighbors, workers have now run a temporary water line from a manhole in the street across her yard and into her basement.

"I didn't get much rest either last night. They worked all night, so wish me luck," she said.

An emergency repair contractor is on site as workers prepare to dig down 20 feet to reach the damaged sewer pipe.

The cave-in, which left several cars precariously sitting on the edge of a crater, was captured in cell phone video. One car has its front end sitting on a steel plate and the tire just hanging there.

Maddie Flood said that had she moved one small pebble, the outcome would have been much different.

"Our car would have been in the hole, this huge thing. My hats off to everyone," she said.

It appears a sewer line, over 100 years old, developed a crack and over time the dirt beneath the road way eroded causing it to sink. Neighbors say what had been a pothole, ended up a moon size crater. Throughout the night, neighbors got little sleep as repair workers tried to eliminate any danger.

"It was scary with all the people coming and going and people going in our basement checking for gas leaks and what not," Nancy Jencius said.

Not far away in the midst of similar repair work on a sinkhole at 92nd Street that caved in recently, DEP is facing an aging infrastructure. City and state officials, concerned by the growing number of these sinkholes, are now calling for closer monitoring.

"Seventy feet is a significant hole. Somebody could have been seriously hurt and killed. I am proud the city responded as good as it did but we have to be more proactive and go after those 20 other locations where smaller sinkholes are," Assemblyman Howard Golden said.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PHOTOS FROM THE SCENE.

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