Sidewalk Collapse Closes Store, Forces Residents to Leave Apartment

SCRANTON -- A store had to shut its doors and residents had to go to a hotel after a sidewalk collapsed on Scranton's west side.

Police fire and gas company workers were called to South Main Avenue in Scranton after a sidewalk collapsed in front of a smoke shop.

Workers say part of an old vault caused the collapse.

Because the gas line was crushed, Smoker House and More, which has been open less than a year, is expected to be closed for days, and residents of the apartment upstairs had to go to a hotel.

Clinton, Nadine, and 1-year-old Shay-Shay were in the apartment above the smoke shop. They had to grab their things and move to a hotel.

“My landlord called and told me there was a breakage and we had to leave immediately,” Nadine Vizcarrondo said.

Underground vaults have been causing problems in Scranton for years. Back in 2012, officials set out to map them throughout the city.

People in the neighborhood say they saw this sidewalk beginning to dip about a week ago.

“About a week ago, one of the customers fell. It was about two or three inches above the ground,” said Steve Alabadi, owner of Smoker House and More.

Ronald Monroe noticed the problem was getting worse Saturday night.

“It looked pretty bad. That is what happened,” said Monroe.

Then when the smoke shop owner arrived to open up on Sunday morning, he found a hole had opened down into the ground.

A few hours later, heavy machinery arrived and the area was fenced off.

Workers tell Newswatch 16 because the project involves gas and water lines, repairs will probably take days.

“You don't want to send your customers someplace else for a week. It's bad for business. God knows how long now it will take,” said Alabadi.

There is no word yet on whether the city or the landlord will have to pay for the repairs. The insurance company is expected to take a look at what happened soon.

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