Taking Precautions if a Sinkhole Forms Near Your Home - WSET.com - ABC13

Taking Precautions if a Sinkhole Forms Near Your Home

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Sinkholes happen when the ground becomes oversaturated with water.

If a sinkhole were to appear close to your home, would you know what to do? That's what some Lynchburg residents were dealing with Saturday after they found a sinkhole in their backyard.

"We didn't know who to call or what to do because we've never had this kind of situation," said Martha Adams.

Adams found the sinkhole in her neighbor's backyard Friday evening. The hole sits just feet behind the Settle Apartments off Euclid Avenue in Lynchburg.

"I was worried because we have a lot of small children in the neighborhood and they're very curious. And I did not want any children to get hurt," said Adams.

Tammy Lynn's mother is the one who lives in the apartment. Lynn says her daughter's bedroom is right beside the sinkhole, so she was afraid she'd be in danger. 

Battalion Chief Robert Lipscomb with the Lynchburg Fire Department says if a sinkhole appears near your home, the first think you should do is block off the hole.

"Take precautions to make sure no one--small children or anyone-- fall into a hole in the yard," said Lipscomb.

Next, see how close the hole is to the building.

"Physically close to the home or actually touching the home, that's when I would be concerned that it's impacting the foundation of the home," said Lipscomb.

If the sinkhole is affecting the structure, Lipscomb recommends you call 911 and evacuate the home.

But with the sinkhole off Euclid, Lipscomb says the hole isn't as deep as the foundation wall because there's a basement.

So the property owner will just have to keep an eye on it and see if it grows.

Lipscomb says the hole could be a result of several different things like old fill dirt that was put in years ago or maybe an old stump in the ground. And with the heavy rainfall we've been getting, the was probably too much water underneath, so the soil caved in.

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