Massive Sinkhole Opens in Virginia After Torrential Rains, Trapping 400 People in Their Homes
Virginia officials said the sinkhole was about 50 feet by 100 feet and had damaged multiple cars
A massive sinkhole opened up in a Virginia neighborhood early Wednesday, leaving approximately 400 residents stranded in their homes.
City officials confirmed the incident during a press conference, explaining that the 50' x 100' sinkhole was a result of the heavy rainfall and flooding that had hit the area hours earlier.
Public Information Officer Frank Winston with the City of Manassas Park Police Department said an officer first spotted the hole around 4:30 a.m. as he was conducting a routine patrol check on Moseby Court.
"[The officer] noticed the flooding and what appeared to be a tree in the middle of the roadway," Winston explained. "Upon checking on that tree, he realized that the roadway had collapsed and that it was compromised."
Winston said the roadway had been "completely washed out," trapping about 400 residents across 80 townhomes and 16 condominiums.
He also noted that one car was swallowed up and washed 75 yards down a nearby creek, which officials were trying to remove, while half a dozen others suffered damage due to the water that rose up to six inches.
Photos posted to the Manassas Park Police Department's Facebook showed some of the damage and debris that occurred in the neighborhood due to the "torrential rains that passed through the city."
Despite the collapse, Laszlo Palko, the City Manager's Office spokesperson, confirmed during the press conference that no injuries were reported.
Authorities are currently working to build a temporary roadway so that residents, police and fire crews have access in and out of the community, Winston said.
City services, including sewage and power, are also still intact, and Winston noted that residents can live "somewhat of a normal life," other than being unable to leave the community on their own.
According to reporters at the press conference, many neighbors claimed to have previously expressed concerns about the dangers of a sinkhole in the roadway.
However, Palko said officials believed there was "no imminent threat of collapse."
"It's an issue we've been working diligently to get addressed," he said. "There was an ongoing issue with that that we planned to get addressed this summer, but unfortunately, the timing did not work. But we were aware."
RELATED VIDEO: Giant Sinkhole In IHOP Parking Lot Swallows 15 Cars
"The entire city is mobilized to make it our priority to make sure residents are safe and secure," Palko said. "We're gonna do everything we can to provide them with our services."
Authorities are currently working on clearing debris and evaluating the scene before they can take action in repairing the roadway.
Palko said during the press conference that he anticipates it being four to six weeks for a full repair if a quick and temporary solution cannot be made.