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Residents Being Allowed Back Into Homes Day After Ground Collapse In South Amboy

SOUTH AMBOY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Engineers were back on the scene Wednesday after a large street collapse that was caused by a water main break in South Amboy.

Crews have been working throughout the day trying to stabilize the ground off Gordon Street, 24 hours after the dead-end road started caving in to the ravine below, forcing residents from their homes.

Ray Miller lives in the house closest to the enormous hole that swallowed up his son's SUV Tuesday morning.

"I heard a little bit of noise, but I thought it was the trees blowing in the wind like normal, I didn't think nothing of it. Didn't hear the car go down into the ravine -- came out and it was the shock of my life," he told CBS2's Andrea Grymes. "Surreal. Couldn't believe it."

Authorities say a water main break caused the ground to start collapsing. No one was hurt, but the damage left behind was extensive.

"We are working with forensic specialists and consultants to determine why the main gave way," said Bernadette Sohler with the Middlesex Water Company.

On Wednesday, workers trucked in tons of rock and gravel used to fill in the ground. Three homes were evacuated as a precaution, but officials said it doesn't appear those homes are in any imminent danger.

"Utilities were up last night, but we felt it was better for residents to stay out so the trucks can come in back and forth," Fire Chief Mike Geraltowski said.

Authorities have been letting residents back in their homes with a police escort to get belongings if they need them. They say residents will be allowed to return for good later Wednesday afternoon.

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