Sinkhole growing problem in Allentown

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - July 30, 2012

Monday marked a third day of anxiety for residents who'd been forced out of their homes in the 800 block of North 5th Street in Allentown on Saturday.

That's when a sinkhole opened up under the foundation of a vacant home in the middle of the block endangering seven other houses in the row.

Resident Jose Guzman knew something was wrong when he couldn't open his front door and then began noticing cracks in his walls inside.

"My second floor got a big crack from the ceiling to the wall; it's nasty, just scary," Guzman said.

Other neighbors noticed similar problems and then they heard the sound of running water, which seemed to be coming from the basement of the vacant house.

What's not clear is whether a broken pipe undermined the foundation, or whether the foundation cracked and caused a water pipe to break.

This morning, a structural engineer went door to door in the evacuated properties examining the visible damage, but the full extent of what happened underground won't be known until engineers can thread a camera through the sinkhole and examine the video.

And until that's determined, engineers can't determine whether a fix is possible and residents can't get back inside their homes.

On top of that, a number of homeowners have called their insurance agencies and found out without a special policy, sinkholes aren't covered on their homeowner's insurance.

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