PWD truck falls into Germantown sink hole

GERMANTOWN - December 31, 2008 At around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, a 13 ton truck from the Philadelphia Water Department was being backed down west Johnson Street to join other water main repair units working on a pair of 6-inch mains.

Suddenly, the street caved in.

"When the van came in, I noticed a little sway in the street. I tried to stop him but it was too late," said Edward Welch of Germantown.

The truck was still sinking, and it broke a 3rd water main.

One neighbor says the problem began at a hydrant during last week's big freeze. It erupted yesterday when 2 mains down the street broke and left the block without water.

Crews worked through the night to replace them, and just when it appeared the repair work was done, the street caved in because of erosion.

"Yesterday it erupted and started a flood down Johnston Street," said Floyd Legree of Germantown.

By early afternoon three heavy lifting tow trucks were brought in to pull the water department equipment out of the sink hole and within moments the truck had been retrieved.

"We just had to secure the back end so the chains didn't slip off and pick it up the right way," said tow truck operator Joe Rudnick.

Repair work on the large crater in Johnson Street started right away. The good news is that no one was injured, however a lot of residents were inconvenienced.

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