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

January 5, 2011 |  8:11 am

Sinkhole

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.”

RELATED:

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

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