Floodwaters caused a huge sinkhole in Madera County

MADERA COUNTY, Calif.

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County road crews have set up barricades on both sides of the sinkhole on Road 36. But before the road was closed this, at least three drivers hit the hole, damaging their vehicles.

A close look at the sinkhole shows just how big, deep, and dangerous it really is. But from a different angle, it's easier to understand why the driver of a white truck didn't see the gaping hole until it was too late.

Irene Flemming said, "We were just driving down, and all the sudden the truck went in, and we flew!"

Flemming says the groceries she just bought spilled all over the place, and the truck she borrowed from her brother ended up with two flat tires.

"We're shaken up a little bit, but we're okay," said Flemming.

Another car heading the opposite way also hit the hole and got a flat tire. But a big rig was the first casualty.

"I think my truck broke quite a bit of it, and it was something else. I tell you!"

The driver says the weight of his truck made the hole much bigger just before the other two drivers hit it. He quickly blocked off the road to keep others safe until county crews arrived.

Madera Co. Road Commissioner, Johannes Hoevertsz said, "This could cause someone to get injured very bad, and we wouldn't want to see that, so we're closing it and everything we can."

County crews also closed a section of Road 36 at John Albert Drive, where floodwaters made it impossible for some residents to leave their homes.

George Higgins said, "It's crazy. I've never seen it like this. I've seen it bad, but even my yard was flooded, been pumping it out all night."

The crews who are working on the sinkhole say it could be months before this section of Road 36 is re-open. They recommend taking Road 33 or 38 instead.

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