“They said it sounded like a bomb going off when the ground dropped out
from underneath,” said Wallace Bidelspach, who lives across East Cherry
Street from where several sinkholes opened up Friday in Palmyra.
It didn't just “sound” like a bomb went off. It “looked” like it too.
Several chimneys collapsed, one onto a neighbor's roof.
There were concrete stairways to nowhere, that dropped into a hole after just two steps.
And there were several huge craters below that no doubt rocked the homes above.
“One of the houses, they can't open their doors,” Bidelspach said. “The foundation has shifted that much.”
Eight houses, four of them apartments, were evacuated.
“I was woken up at 6 o'clock this morning with pounding on my door saying I needed to move my car and evacuate because the road collapsed,” said Tara Hogarth, who owns the house nearest the largest hole.
There's no official cause or damage estimates yet.
The relentless rain almost certainly contributed to the sinkholes.
Neighbors told abc27 news that ever since the borough dug up the street during a summer construction project, sinkholes have been a recurring problem. The very street that opened up had fresh blacktop and was recently repaved.
“The last one we had here, the deepest point was 70 feet,” Bidelspach said. “They could barely get the boom of the crane down to the bottom of it. Once sinkholes open up they just keep going. There's nothing you can do.”
Hogarth is less concerned about the cause of the sinkholes than the effect.
“I have three kids, so having to be displaced for God knows how long, it's gonna be tough,” she said.
When it rains it pours in Palmyra, where sinkholes are a frequent phenomena.
“It's disconcerting,” Bidelspach said. “It's scary. Our property values are plummeting here.”
Despite the rain and the wreckage, Hogarth realizes nobody was hurt and she managed to keep a sunny disposition on an incredibly dreary day.
Does she have a smile on her face?
“I'm trying,” she said with a carefree laugh. “That's all I can do at this point.”