Mall Evacuated In New York, Police Fear Roof Collapse
Lake Grove, NY – A Long Island mall was evacuated Monday after three feet of snow and a rainstorm caused major leaks in over 25 stores.
Local police feared the roof of the Smith Haven Mall in Suffolk County was close to collapse after being battered by the elements for days. The mall was evacuated at 4pm on Monday.
The Smith Haven is one of the largest malls on Long Island, with more than 140 stores. Smithtown Building Department Director John Bongino described one of the stores looking “as if there was an open ceiling and it was raining.”
Bongino promised the mall would consult with a structural engineer to assess the mall’s structural safety before deciding when to reopen.
Paul Llobell, deputy fire coordinator for Suffolk County, said the mall took approximately one hour to evacuate. He added that a seven-foot snow drift had rested on one part of the mall’s roof, but said the evacuation operation had run smoothly, with no injuries reported.
The mall evacuation was conducted with assistance from fifteen different fire and police departments from around the county.
In the same region over the weekend, snowfall and rainstorms caused the roof to collapse at a bowling alley and a home.
Smith Haven Mall is the eastern most enclosed mall on Long Island, drawing shoppers from the towns that make up the Hamptons and the North Fork.
Opened in 1969, the complex boasts 1,400,000-square-foot of retail space and contains a JCPenney, a Macy’s, a Sears, and a Barnes & Noble. More pictures of a pre-leakage Smith Haven Mall can be viewed below: