NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some homeowners in Far Rockaway, Queens were able to begin drying out their flooded basements Tuesday night, after a service line of gushing water in an abandoned house was shut off.
As CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported, the residents said they got nowhere with the city until they called CBS 2.
Some residents were stuck sloshing through standing water in their basements for days, all because of the broken water pipe at the house next door.
“I’m frustrated. It’s terrible,” said Junius Crawford of Far Rockaway. “Something should have been done by some city agency, and nothing is happening so far.”
The water feed line at 329 Beach 29th St. broke, filling the basement with countless gallons of water.
The water went on to spill out, following the path of least resistance into the street and neighboring homes.
And why didn’t the homeowners fix the broken pipe?
“He packed up a truck and he left,” said neighbor Maria Scott.
Scott said her neighbor abandoned his house last summer, saying he could no longer afford it after being hit hard by Irene and Superstorm Sandy.
She and others called 311 repeatedly, trying to get the water shut off.
“Everybody’s passing the buck,” Crawford said. “The Fire Department can’t do anything. (The Department of Environmental Protection) says it’s the homeowner.”
Indeed, city officials said their hands were tied. They said fixing such a water main break is a homeowner’s responsibility, even though neighbors said the homeowner bailed.
“When you have a situation where the property owner has fled the scene and wants nothing to do with it, there should be something done,” added neighbor Aaron Scott.
By Tuesday afternoon, neighbors began to worry about the structural integrity of the home as look at the crack in this foundation and the water pouring right through it.
“We’re paying taxes and we’re getting nothing in return,” Far Rockaway resident Awilda Crawford said.
“People with children they have to walk in the street because they can’t go on the sidewalk. People are going to get hurt,” Far Rockaway resident George Gonzalo said.
But on Tuesday, the Department of Environmental Protection arrived at the scene.
It took two hours to dig a hole, locate the cutoff, and stop the flood.
“Day four, I finally call Channel 2 – here you are and here they are,” Scott said.
The DEP said it was rushing to get to the house causing the flooding as soon as it could. Neighbors on Tuesday were just glad the rushing water had finally stopped.
Neighbors also want the Department of Buildings to check the abandoned house for structural damage, given the amount of pressure the water in the basement put on the foundation.
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