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Sinkhole eats part of Wentworth on South Side

Updated: December 13, 2013 6:11AM

At first, Christopher Carpenter was confused when his neighbor knocked on his door Sunday night to ask if he had water in his basement.

“I was asking her, ‘Why would you ask me, you know, something like that?’” Carpenter said.

But then he looked outside — and saw water shooting up out of his grass in “about four different places” in the 12400 block of Wentworth.

“It looked like Buckingham Fountain,” Carpenter said.

And later, after he called the water department, he said he was standing outside with his sister, daughter, niece and nephew when the west side of Wentworth in front of his home began to cave in. He said “it was like a big boom.”

“They all started screaming and yelling and running,” Carpenter said. “And it did kind of scare me as well.”

He said he told them all to go back inside the house, hoping they’d be safe. They were, but hours later they found themselves, like the rest of their neighbors in the two-block area, without water as city workers tried to figure out what caused the road to collapse in the South Side neighborhood.

No one was hurt and no cars were damaged. But Carpenter, a renal failure patient, said he was also without gas and some electricity — and had two feet of water in his basement.

Bill Bresnahan, managing deputy commissioner of the city department of water management, said the cave-in might have been caused by a leak in the water service to one of the homes. He said that leak might have washed out the area and caused the road to collapse.

He said the water main — which was brand-new — broke after the road collapsed. “That wasn’t the cause,” Bresnahan said.

A final determination of the cause hadn’t been made yet, he said.


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