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The former Summit Park Mall floods

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Buffalo: The former Summit Park Mall floods
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A flood over the weekend inside a former mall in Niagara County reportedly caused more than half a million dollars worth of damages. YNN's Antoinette DelBel has more on how the flood started.

WHEATFIELD, N.Y. — Freezing temperatures the past couple of days led to a flood early Sunday morning in the former Summit Park Mall in Wheatfield.

The Niagara County Sheriff's Office said the hatch on the roof of the vacant building was found open, forcing cold air in, and causing fractures to three of the water pipes.

"As far as an estimate of water would be close to two million gallons," said Capt. Kristen Neubauer with the Niagara County Sheriff's Office.

"The flooding that just happened, it's a shame because it's a gorgeous mall," said Norma Wildey of Sanborn.

The Sheriff's Office said a couple inches of water spread throughout the mall totaling about $600,000 worth of damages.

The property manager told YNN water poured into the building for at least 13 to 14 hours before it was turned off.

Although the investigation is ongoing, the Sheriff's Office said the open hatch appears to be an accident.

"There's a potential that maybe someone was on the roof and left it open, possibly looking to commit a crime, but we can't prove that," said Neubauer. "And there's always a possibility that workers at the scene may have left it open."

The property manager, however, said he's the only one who has access to building and believes burglars forced the hatch open. He said major portions of the mall were closed in 2009 and it's had issues with vandals in the past.

According to the Sheriff's Office, nothing was stolen this time, but that hasn't always been the case.

"About a year and a half ago, we did have copper thefts that were going on on the roof area," said Neubauer. "There were some arrests that were made at that time. As far as if that's a possibility this time, we don't see that as activity there."

Three other stores on the property, Sears, The Bon-Ton and Save-A-Lot were not affected.

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