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Sinkholes open in Harrisburg neighborhood - abc27 WHTM

Sinkholes open in Harrisburg neighborhood

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

A boil water advisory is in effect for residents living in south Harrisburg following a sinkhole early Thursday.

Several homes were evacuated while crews repaired a water main break.

Sheena Mosely woke up before dawn like any typical morning. She washed her face, brushed her teeth and went downstairs to get her son some strawberry milk. Within minutes from using the bathroom, she noticed something strange in the kitchen.

"There's no water!" she said before mimicking the sound of her sputtering faucet.

Confusion quickly turned to frustration.

"No water! I turn around like I do all dramatic," she motioned. "I know the city didn't just turn my water off 'cause I just gave them $176!"

Mosely said she marched upstairs to check the bathroom and found no water pressure there, either. The rising sun illuminated a sight she will never forget.

"Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God! There's a hole in the middle of the ground!" she yelled to her kids. "We gotta get out of here. The house is falling down!"

Mosely quickly realized her front lawn was being swallowed by a newly formed sinkhole.

Other residents along the 1400 block of S. 14th Street noticed the hole, too. Antonio Eubanks said he quickly scrambled his children to safety.

"It's just the thought of - what do you tell your kids when you have to leave your house?" he said.

Officials with Capital Region Water, formerly the Harrisburg Authority, said two leaks in a water main caused three sinkholes on the block. They said the pipe dated back to 1959; fairly new in a city where most water and sewer pipes are a century old or more.

The block is no stranger to sinkholes. In February 2007, a Ford Explorer sank into a gaping hole. Residents said city crews had to pull the SUV from the street crater.

One woman who asked to remain anonymous said her street has not been right since. She complained crews only put a Band-Aid on a bigger problem.

"Basically, the job wasn't fixed in the first place," she said.

Crews said they are unsure if the two sinkholes are related.

Berecia Morris was headed to the Mount Olive Baptist Church where affected residents were permitted to use the bathroom facilities. Knowing her return home was without a timeline, Morris took the situation in stride.

"What can I do? Ain't nothing I can do right now but just pray," she said.

With heaven helping, Morris hopes crews can mend the sinkholes. When asked about an estimated cost, one official laughed and said an estimated cost of repairs was unknown at the time, but said it most likely would cost "a lot."

Eubanks said he's been on the phones with insurance companies, trying to figure out what the next step will be for him and his family. However, he said nothing hurts more than not knowing when they could return home.

"We got family, we got places to go and stuff like that, hotels," he said, "but at the end of the day, it's still just not your home."

 

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