One of Long Island’s biggest malls, Smith Haven in Lake Grove, was evacuated Monday afternoon as a precaution due to leaks in the roof.
The mall was cleared by 4 p.m., the Associated Press reported.
There were leaks in many of the stores and police feared the roof would collapse.
The rumor quickly spread among Long Islanders, but the mall’s Facebook page maintained it was only because of leaks.
An intense rainstorm that followed nearly three feet of snow is to blame for the mall’s structural problems.
Eastern Long Island was severely affected by Blizzard Nemo over the weekend, getting some of the most snowfall in the Northeast.
The roof of a bowling alley in Smithtown collapsed over the weekend, so Suffolk County residents weren’t shocked when they heard the rumor about Smith Haven.
At first the Simon-owned mall wrote on their Facebook page around 3:30 p.m.:
“Please note, we are NOT closing or evacuating the mall. Due to the wet conditions, a few stores have roof leaks however the mall is open and operating.”
The mall soon updated their page, writing that their "lifestyle" wing, that contains stores like Sephora, New York & Co, Starbucks and Guess, would be closed.
Ultimately at 5 p.m. EST the Long Island mall wrote it would be evacuated and closed for the remainder of the day.
“It turns out that some of you may be psychic?” the FB moderator wrote at first.
“As a precaution due to leaks in the mall, we are closing Smith Haven Mall for the remainder of the day. Again, we apologize for the inconvenience.”
The “unprofessional” comment drew ire from Long Islanders who were displeased that the mall was opened in the first place Monday, considering the lots were not properly plowed.
While some did comment on the FB post that they were happy the Smith Haven Mall was keeping their safety in mind, others felt they were not proactive enough.
DawnMarie Snyder-Santiago wrote, “It's not being psychic it's called common sense!” and received 23 “likes.”
Lisa Dubowski Ruggiero comment was “liked” 24 times, “WHO IS RUNNING this page?!? Not very professional.”
Even more people agreed with Mariah Foley:
“Not for nothing you shouldn't have been open in the first place til things were in order. The parking lot is a disaster! Is hardly making money worth risking people getting stuck and now paying to fix all these roofs? Seriously I think you're management needs a good look over! Just saying....”
According to police officials, no one at the mall was harmed because of the leaks.
The mall has not announced if it will be reopening Tuesday.