Giant Bay Area sinkhole swallows up cars

April 16, 2010 1:47:13 PM PDT
Hundreds of residents of a Richmond neighborhood are dealing with a giant sinkhole that collapsed Thursday night in the area of El Portal Drive and Via Verde.

The hole is about 4,000 square feet and the area has become chaotic ever since the ground opened up about 6:30 p.m. on Thursday and swallowed two cars.

Yvonne Still-Nichols came out last night because she heard police were towing vehicles, so they wouldn't fall in the sinkhole too.

"I came to find out when I got here that there is a big old hole and no car, so I kind of flipped out for a little while and then I just went inside and called the insurance company and came out here this morning to take pictures," she said.

Love Preet came out this morning to take her car to school, only to find out it is one of the cars that was towed for safety reasons.

"So it was parked over here, so this morning we were going to school and it's not there no more," she said. "I don't know, they said it was towed and now I have to go to the police to release it."

But not everyone is taking the sinkhole in stride. Those are the people who can now only leave their homes on foot since the street has a new dead end.

"My concern is that we have one way in and one way out," resident Leslie May said. "There are no emergency services that can come in to this area, no mail, no garbage collection."

Richmond city employees say they are sensitive to the concerns of the cut-off community, but safety is the No. 1 concern.

"Until we can get an idea of how we are going to move forward, we can't really give you a timeline at this moment," Chief Michael Banks from the Richmond Fire Department said.

But one man is afraid of what he'll see when crews remove the cars and the dirt.

"And my two cats always go out all day and they always go on that area and they never come home. All night long," Richmond resident Richard Garcia said.

A crane is being brought out to hoist the two vehicles out of the sinkhole and as Banks said, engineers are trying to come up with a game plan that will reconnect an entire community with neighboring areas.


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