Sinkhole closes street in South Philadelphia

SOUTH PHILADELPHIA - January 13, 2014

Police and fire personnel responded quickly around 10:00 a.m. when a Waste Management crew, hauling about 13 tons of trash, got a surprise when the rear wheels of their compactor fell through the pavement on narrow Kater Street just a few feet east of Broad Street.

Leon Mitchell was working nearby, and he explains, "I actually walked up and I seen the truck actually down there ... it looked like it was about to tilt over."

Mitchell says water was gushing from the hole as the crew calmly waited inside.

"They say they was waiting for the tow truck to come," Mitchell said. "And I just told them to get out of the truck and we'd just get some cones and start blocking it off and wait for police to come."

About an hour into the mishap a gas odor was detected, prompting PGW to shut down gas service.

A pair of large tow trucks pulled the Waste Management truck out of the hole. It appeared none worse for wear and was driven away.

As for the street, a deep hole remained. PGW and Water Department crews swarmed the site digging down to examine the conditions of both gas and water mains to see if they need to be repaired or replaced.

So what triggered this mishap? One theory is that there could have been some kind of underground water leak. The Water Department says they're looking into that, but are not ready to comment.

One neighbor tells us that he had noticed that the ground had been dropping for some time. He said he had contacted 311 but has never seen repair crew activity - that is until the truck fell into a sinkhole this morning, and now there's plenty of activity on the street.

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