By Wednesday afternoon, a dozen city engineers and public works officials as well as Los Angeles police officers were surveying the hole, which covered a 6-by-6-foot area. The nearby Los Angeles Fire Department Station # 86 , which reported that no one had been injured, closed off the area.
“It was about 11 in the morning and there were trucks going by here every 30 seconds, it sounded like, and then I heard something backing up like it was a garbage truck,” said resident Doris Allen, who called 911 to report the ever-expanding hole and has lived in the house on the corner since 1976. “It is getting bigger, and I am scared.”
At the scene, Robert Potter, a sanitation wastewater manager for the city Department of Public Works, said he didn’t think the hole would get any bigger, but that they may have to dig it out.
“There is a void under the road of about 12 feet by 12 feet, caused by the erosion,” Potter said. “The road will be closed at least a few days. We may open the intersection by the end of the day, but from Elmer south for a block, this road will be closed.”
A sound of rushing water came from the hole, caused by a break in the water main, but no water was spilling out of the hole.
Potter said it wasn’t clear what caused the sinkhole to occur. However, if the water had eroded the ground under the street it wouldn’t have taken much to cause the collapse, he said.
Allen, who has lived in the house on the corner since 1976, said a cement truck stopped and cordoned off the hole after driving over it. The city is looking into the reports of the cement truck diving over the hole.
Two blocks down the street, cement trucks were lined along Aqua Vista coming from Vineland Avenue waiting to pour another foundation in a 125-unit yet-unamed apartment complex being built by Pearl Developments across from the Aqua Vista Plaza Apartments. The trucks are entering the area near the Los Angeles River where signs are posted forbidding trucks heavier than 6,000 pounds.
One of the project managers of the development, John Rastami, said he didn’t think the cement trucks were more than 6,000 pounds and that his trucks did not go further down Aqua Vista to Elmer that day.
“I have heard about the sinkhole, but our trucks are not going down that far, maybe only one block away,” Rastami said. “We did a similar pouring of a foundation not too long ago without any incident.”
The intersection of Aqua Vista and Elmer remains closed, and the north side of Elmer will remain closed for a few days.