A broken water main pumped thousands upon thousands of gallons of muddy water into Queens streets for hours Friday, flooding much of Elmhurst as authorities, bogged down by water, struggled to find the precise valves they needed to reach to turn off the geyser.
Several buildings reported flooding as the broken main at a construction site near Queens Boulevard and Broadway swamped streets on three sides of the four-way intersection. Garbage gans were left floating in the fetid water, which consumed bicycles parked on the streets and bubbled over sewers.
The first-floor of commercial buildings near the site were evacuated and residents were told to stay inside their homes. No injuries were reported.
A preliminary investigation reveals construction equipment may have hit and ruptured the main, authorities said. Crews were working to shut off the main. They had managed to reduce the flow to a trickle by about noon.
The FDNY said electrical issues were reported, as were transit issues. Service on the M line was partially suspended for a time and other trains ran slow in the area.
Some buses were rerouted around the flooded streets. Queens Boulevard was closed to motor vehicle traffic in both directions from 51st to 55th avenues to assist in the cleanup.
The city's Department of Environmental Protection was investigating.