County inspecting potential sinkhole after resident trapped

 Henrico firefighters have left yellow tape around a West End hole after a homeowner was trapped.

“I told my Dad something’s going on, it’s getting bigger,” said Tammy Young.  She talks about seeing them on television all the time, but never imagined a sinkhole in her own yard; or getting stuck in a hole in her yard.

“I could’ve died in there, the Lord was with me.”

After noticing the ground sinking, Young dug deeper with a rod and eventually grabbed a flashlight to get a closer look.

“I went in a little bit further, and then all of the sudden the pressure pulled me in,” said Young.

Young tellS CBS6 that she was nearly buried alive in her yard, until firefighters arrived and pulled her out. “I felt them walking, and the more that they walked,” said Young, “the more that the dirt came down on me.”

“In about 5 minutes we were able to extricate her but she has been transported to a local hospital as a precaution,” said Battalion Chief Stan Langford. He offered advice to homeowners if they have sinking soil in their yard.

“If you have one that’s popped up, be cautious,” Langford said.

Friday, Henrico County Building officials and Engineers inspected the property to investigate what Young thought was a sinkhole.

“I don’t think so,” said Gregory Revels, Henrico County Building Official.

Revels says engineers ruled out the possibility that the hole was the result of the home being built over an old coal mine shaft, common for the area.  They also checked to see whether rotting sewer and water lines were to blame.

“We did check to see if this has any organic debris in the hole that may be associated with a rotting tree stump or tree limbs that might have been there when the property was developed,” Revels says.

And since it’s on private property, it’s up to the homeowner to fix.

But the county inspectors will still come out and take a look.

“We see a role and opportunity here to come out and identify what the problem might be and give guidance and directions to property owners, especially, if there’s any impact on the home itself,” said Revels.

For Young, the good news is that her home suffered no structural damage.

“I feel safe, but unsafe,” said Young.

If you live in Henrico County and find holes in your yard, call the County’s Building Inspection department at 501-4360.

Inspectors will come out and help to identify the problem.

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