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Water Main Break In The Village Could Have Street Closed For Days

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A water main break in Greenwich Village early Wednesday morning damaged a busy intersection and officials say it could take days before the street is reopened.

The main broke around 1:40 a.m., flooding Fifth Avenue between 13th and 14th streets.

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"We're fairly confident that it was a 36-inch cast iron main that dates back before 1900, probably part of the original Croton water supply system," said Department of Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner Jim Roberts.

"This is an old main so that would be -- I think we'd be naive to think that wasn't a major factor. The real cold and warming up and stuff doesn't help any of the water supply systems," Roberts added.

Con Edison crews and the DEP spent the better part of Wednesday digging up the street, pumping water out from underground and shoveling sludge.

"It's a giant hole in the middle of a very busy intersection," resident Doris Kan told CBS 2's Kathryn Brown.

The break buckled the pavement, trapped a taxi and sent water pouring down streets and into the basements of local buildings, including three belonging to The New School. It also flooded a nearby parking garage.

"Completely under water and I understand there's 50 cars parked here," a Con Edison worker told 1010 WINS' John Montone. "You can look into the office and you can see the office has about eight feet of water in it."

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Paul Epstein's vehicle was one of more than 50 cars inside the garage.

"My car is probably floating somewhere in the basement," he said. "It's just a mess."

Helen Kimmel told 1010 WINS' Juliet Papa that she planned to take the Atlantic City Bus home to Linwood, N.J. Her car is among the dozens that were flooded in the central parking garage on West 13th Street.

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"I'm staying at my friends house and she put the news on this morning, and said I think you have a problem," Kimmel said.

The break caused service changes on the B, C, D, F, M and Q lines for several hours Wednesday morning. Service has since been restored.

As of 5 p.m., the DEP had not yet reached the main and was unable to determine -- until crews reach it -- if the crews will repair, replace or bypass the main, CBS 2's Tracee Carrasco reported.

As of Wednesday evening, 10 commercial buildings and 75 customers were without water service.

The DEP also had to shut down an additional main which has cut off water on 10th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues.

The Department of Environmental Protection was working to get water restored as soon as possible, and expected to be finished working on the main by the end of the work week.

Once repairs are completed, traffic will be reopened and water will be restored.

"It's quite a big hole in the intersection," Roberts said. "We want to make sure that nothing else is affected."

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