State Of Emergency Declared Over Large Sinkhole In Town

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The City of Fraser has declared a state of emergency after a sinkhole began forming in one neighborhood of the suburban Detroit community on Christmas Eve.

Fraser mayor Joe Nichols signed the state of emergency, asking for additional help from Macomb County to help make repairs after the sinkhole, said to be about 250 feet long by 100 feet wide, led to the collapse of one home and the evacuation of about 22 more families.

Lt. Mike Pettyes of the Fraser Public Safety Department says the sinkhole seems to have appeared to due to the crumbling of an 11-foot-wide sewer line approximately 55 feet underground.

“We’re kind of in sit-around-and-wait mode,” Pettyes said. “A lot of people are convinced that it’s just a matter of time — and it’s not if the house is going to come crumbling down, it’s when.”

Water, sanitary sewer and gas main have all been cut off, and residents have been told that repairs could take up to 10 months to complete.

The Macomb County Public Works department has warned residents that possible sewage backups can occur in the basements of homes along Garfield from 15 Mile to 18 Mile road..

Authorities were alerted to the problem about 6 a.m. Saturday when Sue Albu and her husband heard noises, noticed the frame of their home had shifted, and eventually began to sink, CBS Detroit reported.

“We were out,” Albu told the Detroit Free Press. “It was just trying to grab what we could to salvage it.”

In 2004, the same sewer line collapsed and created a sinkhole approximately 160 feet long, 60 feet wide and 30 feet deep in a nearby section of 15 Mile Road, according to CBS Detroit.

“As I understand it, this area is at the opposite end of the intersection where that 2004 sinkhole occurred,” Consumers Energy spokesperson Debra Dodd told WWJ Newsradio 950 on Saturday. “It’s the same sewer line running underneath there, but I don’t know if the two incidents are related at this time.”

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