A massive sinkhole caused a Brooklyn roadway to suddenly collapse this week, but one local resident saved the day by stopping vehicles and pedestrians before they could plunge to an uncertain fate.
According to CBS New York
, Edwin Donis was first on the scene at Fifth Avenue and 64th Street when the pavement began to cave in around 7 a.m. on Tuesday.
"I stopped the people," he explained, noting that the smoking, watery hole was quite a sight.
Estelle Cruz, 28, and her 9-year-old son Michael Licarvo were also nearby when the dangerous crater formed.
"I was scared and nervous," Cruz, who works at the Fifth Avenue shop J & L Multi Service, told AM New York
. "It was like a movie."
"It was like a firecracker blowing up," said her son. "It looks huge. It looks like a tornado hole."
"I heard a loud bang and then looked over my shoulder to see the ground collapsing," Kenny Rivers, 41, who was riding his bike nearby, told the New York Post
. "I thought an explosion happened."
The resulting hole was 20 feet across and 20 feet deep, and exposed a number of pipes and other underground infrastructure.
"There were cars on it just minutes before," Frank Bowman, whose rooftop surveillance camera captured the incident, told WCBS 880, CBS reported. "There was no warning, this thing just happened quick."
When city officials arrived on the scene, they cordoned off the area, as they were afraid the crater could expand further, swallowing the sidewalk.
An initial assessment suggested that a 48-inch cast iron water main was to blame for the sinkhole.
"It appears to be some sort of water leak that undermined the road, washed away the earth, and that’s why the street gave way," said FDNY Deputy Chief Peter Leicht.
Multiple local residents said that the road near that intersection had been slowly sinking for some time, but never thought it would collapse in such a dramatic fashion.
"There’s a lot of different agencies that have been involved or contacted and none of them want to take any action," said one woman who had previously complained to the city about the sinking ground.
Other residents speculated that the road could have been further weakened by heavy trucks who'd been diverted off the nearby Brooklyn-Queens Expressway due to construction.
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