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Sinkhole partially swallows car in Whittier; rain might be to blame

January 5, 2011 |  8:11 am


A 12-foot sinkhole in South Whittier that partially swallowed a car was filled overnight and nearby evacuated residents have been allowed to return home, authorities said Wednesday.

Officials said a ruptured sewer line may have caused the sinkhole, and they were investigating whether recent rainstorms played a part.

About 250 residents near the 13900 block of Coteau Drive, where the sinkhole partially swallowed a car, were evacuated about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday to Vista Loma Elementary School a few blocks away, said Sgt. Ralph Gama of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

“A car was literally teetering on the edge of the hole and we saw there was a pipeline four feet under it,” Gama said. “The fear was that it was a gas line.”

No one was injured, and evacuated residents were allowed to return home about     9 p.m. after authorities determined that the pipe was a sewer line, Gama said.

“We left deputies there overnight to make sure no one got hurt,” he said. “My understanding is that the hole has been filled up already.”


Homes evacuated after sinkhole swallows car in South Whittier

-- Shan Li

Photo: Public works crew is busy in Whittier repairing a broken sewer line that caused a sinkhole on 13900 block of Coteau Drive. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times