The restaurant had only been open for a week

By Alex Heigl
Updated November 10, 2015 01:40 PM
Credit: Michael Stewart/The Meridian Star/AP

Looks like the International House of Pancakes has some foundation problems.

The parking lot at a Meridian, Mississippi, IHOP collapsed Saturday evening, causing 12 cars to tumble into the ground. The 15-foot-deep trench measured 35 feet wide by 400 feet long by the time it finished opening up. No one was injured in the accident.

Whatever the hole’s dimensions and provenance, authorities aren’t referring to it as a “sinkhole.” “You can call it what you want, a cave-in or whatever, but it is not a sinkhole,” Meridian Public Safety Director Buck Roberts told The Meridian Star. Sinkholes are usually caused when underground aquifers dry up and leave empty space beneath the ground’s surface; experts will attempt to determine the cause of the IHOP collapse Monday.

The IHOP had only been open for about a week at the time of the accident. Crews had been working on its construction for months, and a hotel is being built next to the restaurant site.

“We’d been in there about three minutes,” Gwendolyn Fikes, whose daughter’s car was one of the ones swallowed, told the Star. “Then everything went black and we heard a boom.”