Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. November 30th, 2011

Part of a tractor-trailer was swallowed by a sinkhole about 8 o’clock this morning in the parking lot of the Sheetz mini-market in the 3200 block of Schoenersville Road in Bethlehem.

No one was hurt, but the driver, Joe Lech, was in the truck when the sinkhole opened.

“The ground shook once. The ground shook twice,” Lech said.”It was like an earthquake.”
The gas pumps at the market have been closed and the store remains open. Schoenersville Road and City Line Road remain open.

The truck is from JL Transportation Co. Inc. in Larksville, Pa. Lech said he was hauling soda from a plant on City Line Road. He had just picked up the load and pulled into Sheetz.

“I stop for coffee and smokes,” Lech said. “I do this everyday.”
He said in his 31 years of driving a truck, he’s never dropped into a sinkhole.

“It’s unique,” Lech said. “I’ve never had an experience like this.”

Firefighters and tow truck operators are working to move the semi and began pumping out the truck’s fuel tanks at 10:30 this morning.
Police said the truck would need to be unloaded before wreckers could right it and haul it away. Police estimated the depth of the sinkhole at 10 to 12 feet. Lech said the rescue effort would take all day.
“It’s gonna be an all-day affair,” he said.

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