Massive sinkhole leaves several families without homes

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EPHRATA, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. (WPMT) -- A sinkhole in Ephrata left a dozen families without a place to live.

Police deemed two nearby apartment buildings unsafe due to concerns with the sinkhole and damage that cut off a sewage line.

The sinkhole in Ephrata is not only unsettling to the ground, but to the people who live in a nearby apartment building, as well as their neighbors.

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Neighbor Renee Hartwell said "it's definitely scary. Something you worry about, especially because I have a child, and having to worry about him. It's scary."

Ephrata Police Chief Bill Harvey said "we're working closely with their management group. What we're trying to do there is get them mediated to a place where they can stay for the next few days. The duration of being away, in terms, we don't know."

Harvey said the sinkhole was discovered early Tuesday morning by a driver who realized what he hit was more than just a pothole.

"What we're doing here now is still trying to find the causation, then at the same time, trying to stabilize all utilities. Here, we've had gas, water, water pick ups, and also two storm sewers. So we're also going to try to safeguard those and protect those as well," Harvey said.

The wide gap in the roadway created more than just a detour for people behind the wheel, but on foot as well.

"We've got all the walking paths and all walking to school, and the parochial schools here. So everything is to keep people away from the area. Let the workman, and let the experts do their job, and let us keep everybody safe," Harvey said.

Seeing a sight such as a large sinkhole may be a little too close to home for some.

"Anytime you're in central Pennsylvania, you've got limestone, anytime you get water and limestone, water is going to dissolve it and you're going to have potholes," Harvey said.

"Hopefully it doesn't affect our house. Hopefully, it doesn't affect any of these houses. I know the ones up the street have been deemed unsafe. Hopefully, I don't have to move," Hartwell said.

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