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Huge Sinkhole Swallows Cars

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A huge sinkhole opened up on South Side on Thursday. (Credit:Mike Krauser/WBBM Newsradio

A huge sinkhole opened up on South Side on Thursday. (Credit:Mike Krauser/WBBM Newsradio

Updated 04/18/13 – 3:56 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A massive sinkhole swallowed three cars on the South Side overnight.

WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports the hole is in the 9600 block of South Houston Avenue in the South Deering neighborhood and takes up the entire street.

A man on his way to work in his SUV drove into the sinkhole and was hurt, then two cars parked on either side of the street fell in as the asphalt under them gave way.

One person was hospitalized at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

“I seen my momma’s car go inside the ground, and that’s why I was running up to make sure she wasn’t in the car,” one witness said. “But the fire people was telling me, ‘No, just stand back. Stand back.”

Hours later, as water from the rain poured into the sinkhole — measuring approximately 30 by 20 feet, and 15 feet deep — the three cars shifted, setting off the alarm of one car.

“At this point, what we know is that a water main broke at this location. It’s an old water main that dates back to 1915, and when it broke, it breached the sewer below it,” Chicago Water Management Commissioner Tom Powers said. “As the water was flowing from the broken main, it undermined all the soil underneath the pavement, and washed it into the sewer.”

Powers said there was no visible warning at street level that a sinkhole was forming before the pavement gave way.

He said water service on Houston Avenue between 95th and 98th streets was shut down to make repairs.

“We are proceeding with care, and making sure the hole is shored, and working with both ComEd and Peoples Gas for adjacent utility protection,” he said.

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