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Sinkholes cause evacuations in Palmyra, residents say they could have been prevented

Updated: Friday, October 11 2013, 10:24 PM CDT
Reported by: Ewa Roman

Palmyra -- The 300 block of East Cherry Street in Palmyra Lebanon County is on the verge of being swallowed by sinkholes.

911 got a call about the problem around 7 a.m. Friday morning.  The Red Cross says people who live in eight buildings on that street had to leave.

"We were told around seven o'clock this morning go evacuate our home. We have five children we are now staying at a motel and we don't know when we can get back into our house, or if," said Jonathan Stoltzfus, evacuee.

The people who live there say it all started with a huge sinkhole this July at the corner of East Cherry and South Grant Streets. They say it wasn't repaired properly and that started a domino effect, and now they have at least five sinkholes in that neighborhood.

"I'm just ready to blow my top, and when we had the original sinkhole, the borough wouldn't take responsibility for it they said it was the state, the state said it was the borough, nobody wants to take responsibility for anything and now we have nowhere to live," Stoltzfus.

Jonathan says they have been told that once it stops raining, an engineer will come out and assess the damage to determine if these homes are condemned.

The American Red Cross says they helped three families with shelter and other necessities.  In all they helped 14 people, six adults and eight children.

CBS 21 did call the mayor, but as of 7:30 Friday night our calls have not been returned.

Friday's bad weather may have caused sinkholes to open up in a Lebanon County community.

One of the sinkholes opened up in the 300 block of East Cherry Street in Palmyra. The entire block is closed off to traffic and several homes and buildings were evacuated.

Crews were called to the area around 7 a.m. on Friday for a report of a partial building collapse. Crews arrived and saw a chimney had collapsed and found a sinkhole underneath it. But after that, several more sinkholes opened up.

Brittani Bissell the Public Information Officer for Western Lebanon County Emergency Managment says engineers are checking out the homes to see how much damage is done.  "As far as 300-322 of East Cherry Street has been unstable and uninhabitable.  Right now the engineer is going around doing his report. Basically the families are being taken care of by the American Red Cross"

American Red Cross volunteers has set up a care center for those impacted by the sinkholes at the Palmyra Borough Office,325 S Railroad Street.  Sinkholes cause evacuations in Palmyra, residents say they could have been prevented

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