Sinkhole Forces Families From Homes

A large sinkhole causes evacuations and a water advisory

A water main break and large sinkhole could keep three Hanover Township families out of their homes for Christmas.

Residents along the 2200 block of Irma Drive heard a pop Monday morning around 8 a.m.

"I saw things falling into this hole from my front porch -- I grabbed what I could," said Mike Smith who lives at 2255 Irma.


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"I saw the water guys who were looking for a main break down the street about a block away… and I yelled, 'hey, it’s down here.'

"They came down, they saw what was going on and they looked pretty worried. They had the water turned off… but there was a lot of water coming through there."

After receiving calls from residents complaining about dirty water early Monday morning, Han-Le-Co firefighters discovered the large sinkhole created by a 6-inch water pipe burst on Irma Drive.

The sinkhole zigzagged between at least three properties causing a giant crack in the foundation connecting the row homes.

“The hole is going under our next-door neighbor’s house and our home,” Mike's wife Joanie Smith told The Morning Call. “One gentleman said we might not be back for Christmas.”

The Smiths said that sinkhole appears to be a serious hazard to the structural integrity of their house and two neighboring homes.

Crews were working through the night to try and patch the hole so that the Smiths and their neighbors could get back into their homes to assess the actual damage.


Thirty homes lost water service due to the pipe burst as hundreds of people were evacuated.

The Bethlehem Water Authority put a water advisory in effect for nearly 200 homes. Information on the city’s website instructs customers under the advisory to boil water or use bottled water for consumption, cooking, brushing teeth, food preparation and other activities.

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