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Home sits on sinkhole's edge, but homeowner says things could be worse

By Emily Allen, Multimedia Journalist /Target 13 Investigator , emily.allen@krdo.com
Published On: Sep 16 2013 02:21:38 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 16 2013 02:23:31 PM CDT

A Colorado Springs homeowner watched workers try to repair a massive sinkhole feet from her home Monday.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

A Colorado Springs homeowner watched workers try to repair a massive sinkhole feet from her home Monday.

The sinkhole opened up Sunday afternoon in the 2700-block of Flintridge Drive near North Academy Boulevard because of heavy rain. The gaping hole opened up less than 15 feet from the edge of Nela Flemming's garage.

It's swallowed slabs of concrete, a stormwater pipe and bushes her great aunt planted decades ago. However, Glemming repeated Monday she was grateful the sinkhole spared her home.

"To go through the garage and see that hole, it was just crazy," said Glemming.

The hole is 40-feet wide and 25-feet deep in some parts. A stranger knocked on her door and pointed out the sinkhole in the alleyway near her garage. Glemming said the man may have saved her life.

"Had I not been alerted, I think very easily, I always turn that direction, I would have gone in that hole, hit that gas line, and things could have been a very different story," said Glemming.

There is a stormwater drainage pipe buried at the bottom of the hole. Breaks in the pipe and heavy rain may have opened up the earth. Colorado Springs' Public Works Department worked nonstop since the hole opened up.

Repairing sinkholes is a difficult and dangerous job. The City's Public Works Department needs more equipment, but so do other departments across the state as workers scramble to repair problems brought on by heavy rain and flooding.

"With all of the emergencies up and down the front range, it's been difficult to find the resources we need," said Corey Farkas with the city's public works department.

The work could take days or weeks, depending on which option is chosen to fix the damage. A whole section of the pipe may need to be replaced which would be a time-consuming and expensive project.

Glemming is staying positive. She said other people are facing bigger flood problems across Colorado.

"I feel very blessed. I don't feel in any danger," said Glemming.

Glemming complimented her neighbors for their support during the ordeal and the hard work of city workers. Some workers had been working at the sinkhole site for 12 hours.

Sinkholes have swallowed homes and even hotels across the U.S. in recent months. Glemming said it's a big hole, but when you put it in perspective, it's not a big deal.

"You see it on the news in Florida and California, homes just sucked up," said Glemming. "Mine is still here. It's nothing to that realm but it's big. It's about 25 feet deep. It's going to get bigger. This is going to be a lot longer process than just overnight."

The 2700 block of Flintridge Drive is down to one lane while the sinkhole is repaired. There are police officers stationed along the residential street helping direct traffic.

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