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Crews pulling firetruck from sinkhole in Valley Village [Updated]

September 8, 2009 | 10:19 am


[Updated at 1:20 p.m.: Crews are pulling the stuck firetruck out of the sinkhole in Valley Village.]

The Los Angeles Fire Department and the L.A. Department of Water and Power are still working this morning to free a firetruck from a muddy sinkhole in Valley Village.

The work will take all morning because the 22-ton engine truck needs to be lifted up and pulled out of the sinkhole in a single maneuver, said Devin Gales, a spokesman for the DWP.

Before 5:30 a.m., firefighters from Station 60 were responding to a call about flooding when they came upon running water on the road. The fire captain instructed the driver to begin backing up and had the two firefighters in the back get out to direct the truck, department spokesman Richard Matheney said.

Suddenly the ground gave way underneath the front of the truck, and the vehicle began sinking. The driver and captain crawled out of the windows and made it onto stable ground, Matheney said. No one was injured.

DWP officials say the Valley Village break was unrelated to the water main break Saturday on Coldwater Canyon Boulevard.

[Updated at 11:20 a.m.: DWP officials said the 6-inch residential water line that failed on Bellingham Avenue at Hartsook Street in Valley Village was installed in 1969 and should have held up for several more  decades. The pipes normally have a 100-year lifespan; officials are investigating the cause of the break. The two breaks are about 2 1/2 miles from each other.]

-- Raja Abdulrahim and Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Firetruck stuck in sinkhole in Valley Village. Al Seib / Los Angeles Times
More photos


Use the Times' interactive Google map to see the location of the water main breaks and street closures in the area.