QUEENS, N.Y. (PIX11) — One of the busiest roadways in Queens was shut down on Tuesday after a mishap involving one low-hanging wire escalated.
When all was said and done, a whole network of electrical, phone, and other cables were torn down, and some residents were without power.
Many people in the area were talking about how they’d warned authorities that this would happen, and their complaints hadn’t been fully followed up on.
“We knew it was going to happen,” said Varsh De Abreu, an office manager at 101 Plumbing and Electrical. “It’s a business located right at the intersection where the downed cables emergency happened. But we didn’t know when, and we didn’t know it would be this big.”
Just before 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to police and witnesses, a flatbed truck that was carrying a backhoe got caught on a low-hanging wire at the intersection of 101st Avenue and Sanders Place.
Workers at 101 Plumbing and Electrical took a photo of the intersection last week, documenting a cable that they said was only 10 to 12 feet above the roadway when it was supposed to be two to three feet higher, they said.
The owner of the business, Lakhwander Multani, told PIX11 News that they’d reached out to a variety of entities that they’d thought could help. In the end, none did.
“We called actually Wednesday, Thursday, Friday” of last week, Multani said. “All the [entities] we called Con Edison, Verizon, NYPD, fire department. They took no action on it.”
So for now, for 14 customers along 101st Avenue, there’s no electricity, except what they can get from portable generators.
All day on Tuesday, work crews from Con Ed and Verizon were on the scene, repairing and replacing cables and wires, utility poles, and a traffic signal.
Con Ed made clear, in response to inquiries from PIX11 News, that the lowest wires in the intersection belong to Verizon. Electrical utilities have wires that are placed highest among wires and cables for safety reasons.
Verizon said in a statement: “Verizon has dispatched a work crew to 101st Ave. and Sanders Place to assist Con Ed as they work to finish repairs. Once the electrical lines have been fixed, our crews will work quickly to assess our existing cables and complete any required repairs. We apologize for any inconvenience this is causing.”
Meanwhile, the plumbing and electrical supply business remains open, even though the avenue on which it’s located is not.
“We are just very thankful that it didn’t hurt somebody,” De Abreu, the office manager, said. “We were actually scared that something like that would’ve happened.”
Con Ed said that restoring power completely would be an all-day affair. It indicated that the situation may not be back to normal until Wednesday morning.