August 10, 2012

Afternoon deluge leaves sinkhole in Lake Placid sidewalk

By KIM SMITH DEDAM, Press-Republican

---- — LAKE PLACID — Heavy rain from an afternoon storm Thursday washed out a portion of sidewalk here.

Early reports from Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department personnel indicated a sinkhole formed near the Eastern Mountain Sports store on Main Street and swept some lakeside equipment into Mirror Lake.

No one was injured in the apparent flash-flood incident.

But a 2-by-roughly-4-foot hole appeared on the sidewalk out of nowhere, according to eye-witness reports.

Tom Sharlow, manager of the Great Adirondack Steak and Seafood Company on Main Street, said the rains came on so fast, storm drains could not keep up.

“It had nowhere to go with such dry conditions, and the water pooled up in front of EMS (Eastern Mountain Sports) and the Gap and went into EMS. There was a sinkhole, too, a couple feet wide, and like 6 feet deep. It happened in 10 minutes, then the drains caught up with the rainfall, but the damage was done.”

The sky dried up, and Main Street reopened, although the sports shop remained closed.

“We are open and fully functional, and real busy,” the restaurant manager said.

“Traffic is moving along Main Street.”


Steak and Seafood is located about half a block north of the sports store and on the opposite side of Main Street.

At Ruthie’s Run just down the street, business owner Cathy Johnston said the intense rain came in a deluge.

“They closed Main Street for awhile, the sidewalk collapsed. Things were flooding, fast. We were at Brown Dog Cafe for lunch and saw the rain and wind come up. Then the water starting rising, reaching to the hubcaps of the cars. Once it receded, there was no sidewalk (by the sports store). We are dry now,” she said of the building they own.

“Main Street is open.”


Brad Hathaway, Lake Placid Department of Public Works superintendent, said the rain was one of the hardest downpours he has ever seen, faster even than Tropical Storm Irene, though not as long in duration.

“We had two sections of sidewalk collapse,” Hathaway said Thursday afternoon.

“One by No. 1 Main Street and one by Eastern Mountain Sports. The road seemed to take it fine; the drains just couldn’t carry all the water.

“There were areas of Main Street that had about of foot of water on the road for 200 to 300 feet. At Eastern Mountain Sports, the water was up to their door.”

That shop had some flooding downstairs, Hathaway said.

“But it was on a cement floor, they are cleaning it up.” 

It was the only store that closed for the afternoon; he expected it would be open Friday.


Village crews filled the sinkholes with crusher rock and cordoned off the sidewalk areas that were damaged. They plan to repair the sidewalk surface next week as tourism traffic slows.

Gap Store staff deferred questions to corporate offices.

The Eastern Mountain Sports phone wasn’t working, apparently offline on Thursday afternoon.

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