Water main break floods cars, NYCHA building in Queens

LONG ISLAND CITY, Queens (WABC) -- A large water main break flooded cars parked next to the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City, Queens.

The main broke at around 2 a.m. Tuesday, quickly flooding Vernon Boulevard and 41st Road.

Area residents reported water up to the window level of vehicles parked on the street.

Ronald Ragbir's car was ruined.

"I have a pool in my backseat," he said. "This is what I take my daughter to school with, my $400 car seat. Everything in my car is done."

Flooding was also reported inside 41-12 Vernon Boulevard, a city-run Housing Authority building.

The FDNY was checking other buildings for flooding and structural damage.

Officials from the city's Department of Environmental Protection, buildings department and emergency management office also responded to the scene.

DEP crews shut off water to stop the leak, and by daybreak, the water on the street had receded, leaving a thick coating of mud on Vernon Boulevard.

Approximately 450 customers were without water service as crews began excavating the roadway to identify the exact source of the leak.

Repairs were completed by later afternoon Tuesday, and water service was restored to all residents. Repairs of the roadway will continue.

A water main break flooded streets in this same area back in January 2021.

"I said, 'Not again,'" said Alexander Saez, whose car was ruined. "This is the second time this has happened to me. In the same spot...the same exact spot."

One resident told Eyewitness News he is still awaiting reimbursement from the city for damage to his vehicle from the first flooding.

"This is the second time this has happened in less than two years," said Al Vargas, whose car was also ruined. "Makes no sense."

Residents blamed the city, which said it was a different section of the same main.

"I'm pretty sure that if they fixed it the right way the first time, it wouldn't have happened again," Ragbir said.

Frustrated residents want the city held accountable.

"It's not the people from the development," Saez said. "It's the city's problem."

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