Community continues dealing sinkhole damage

PALMER TWP., Pa. (WPVI) -- Sinkholes are threatening several houses in part of Northampton County, and the problem has forced some people out of their homes for months.

They say local leaders aren't doing enough to help.

"It is a major concern. Our property values have tanked," said Debbie Werner of Palmer Township.

Back in January, a massive sinkhole opened up on Werner's road in the wake of a water main break on Brentwood Avenue.

Some of the heavy equipment that was brought in was actually devoured by the gaping hole.

Four months have gone by and crews are still trying to repair the damage to the Werner family home.

"My husband said 'open the back door to the garage' and we could not open the door at all. The house shifted, the garage floor cracked and shifted and moved away from my foundation," Werner said.

Believe it or not, the Werners got off relatively easy. The two homes next-door have been condemned, because the land beneath them has been deemed unstable.

People across this community say they fully understand the ripple effect this is having on them.

"Now, if I try to go and sell my house, who is going to want to spend the price for the house? They're going to say 'you've got sinkholes,' you know," said neighbor Mike Haldaman.

As a result, several neighbors have come together to file a lawsuit against the township, claiming the municipal water main break is to blame.

We reached out to Palmer Township officials who told us they have no comment since his issue is the subject of a lawsuit.

Meanwhile, Debbie Werner, who says her homeowners insurance only covers part of the repair costs, is stressed out.

"It's nerve wracking. I can't take much more of it, I can tell you that," she said.

Two homes have been damaged and two have been condemned. The owners of one of those condemned homes have four children - including one adopted and one foster child - and three have special needs.

They just bought their home last summer.

The owners of the other home had not sinkhole insurance.

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