Man falls into sinkhole in Strawberry Mansion

Christie Ileto Image
Monday, August 14, 2017
Man falls into sinkhole in Strawberry Mansion
Man falls into sinkhole in Strawberry Mansion. Christie Ileto reports during Action News at 6 p.m. on August 13, 2017.

STRAWBERRY MANSION (WPVI) -- Firefighters rescued a 58-year-old male after he fell into a 8-foot sinkhole late Saturday night.

It happened after 11 p.m. on the 3100 block of West Norris Street in Philadelphia's Strawberry Mansion section.

In a cell phone video, you can hear Eugene Clarke's wife screaming for her husband trapped several feet after falling through a sinkhole.

Clarke says he went to put back cones that a car had knocked down around the safety hazard.

"I was very terrified. It was quick, it happened fast. I stood over there, trying to put the piece and straddle my feet over the hole, and it opened up and I just went in," he said.

"I hear him screaming my name, and all I want to do is jump in the hole," Sasha Clarke said.

Rescue workers were able to retrieve Clarke less than an hour later. His ankle, wrist and lower back injured. He's confined to crutches.

"I fell in that hole, I'm sore! I wouldn't have fallen if they had put a cover on it,"

Clarke said.

The water department says they were notified of a potential leak in the street last Thursday, and that a sewer maintenance crew will be out to do an inspection later this week.

But in the meantime, Clarke worries the cones are not enough.

When asked if this is just a Band-Aid for a bigger problem? "Yes, until one of these cars or the whole block goes in. It's going to spread, it's going to spread," Clarke said.

Clarke says the city should put a proper cover over the sinkhole, rather than the cones.


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