Queens water main break disrupts service to homes, businesses, hospital

FAR ROCKAWAY, Queens (WABC) -- A water main break in Queens has left some homes and businesses without water.

The water main broke at Beach 19th Street and Seagirt Boulevard in Far Rockaway Tuesday morning.

Many homes and businesses in the area reported very low water pressure or no water service.

Children left their schools in Far Rockaway after spending the day with little or no running water.

Parbatee Lakharam picked-up her grandchildren early Tuesday.

"I picked up the grandkids because they don't have any water in the bathrooms, whatsoever," said Lakharam. "Parents were informed by email to come pick up their kids."

Authorities blamed the problem on a ruptured, 12-inch water main beneath Beach 19th Street at the corner of Seagirt Boulevard.

What caused the break was not immediately clear. But it forced the shutdown of water service to a large area surrounding the break including water service to St John's Episcopal Hospital, where ambulances were diverted elsewhere and non-essential staff were sent home.

"We rescheduled routine appointments and our dialysis patients opted to return tomorrow," said Thomas Melillo, Marketing Director for St. John's Hospital.

The hospital was providing bottled water to patients, and the staff was still able to prepare patient meals. There are more than 200 patients at the hospital.

Workers were able to shut down the leak before it could trigger a street collapse.

"They're going to start excavating the roadway, the new section of water main is over there," said Ted Timbers of the New York City Department of Environmental Conservation. "Once we get that new water main installed, everyone else should be back on by this evening."

Late Tuesday afternoon, workers were able to isolate the leak and restore service to the hospital and the schools.

20 homes were still without water, and it was expected to take several more hours to bring the entire neighborhood back online.

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