Philadelphia Firefighters Rescue Man After He Falls Into Sinkhole

While the man is thankful to the firefighters who rescued him, he remains frustrated that the sinkhole hasn't been covered up by the Water Department.

Philadelphia firefighters rescued a man who fell down an eight-foot sinkhole in the Strawberry Mansion section of the city.

Eugene Clarke, a Strawberry Mansion block captain, told NBC10 he was trying to secure a sinkhole on N. Patton and West Norris streets around 11:30 p.m. Saturday after residents in the neighborhood had first reported it to the Philadelphia Water Department Thursday.

“When I asked them, I said, ‘Are you going to fix this hole?’ They said that’s not their job. They said you had to call Daryl,” Clarke said.

After the report was made Thursday, the Water Department responded and determined the leak was on the sewer line connected to a private home. Clarke said they had taped the area off but there was nothing covering the hole.

“It had fallen down,” Clarke told NBC10. “We’ve got four or five kids who play a lot. So what I did is I tried to secure it.”

As Clarke walked in the area late Saturday night, the asphalt gave way and he fell into the hole.

Sasha Clarke
Eugene Clarke, a Strawberry Mansion block captain, was rescued after he fell down a sinkhole late Saturday night. Clarke's wife took a photo of him before firefighters pulled him out.

“It’s like an eight-foot deep hole,” Clarke said. “So when I fell it was like my feet and butt at the same time.”

Clarke said he was in the hole for 20 to 25 minutes before responding Philadelphia firefighters pulled him out.

“I’d like to thank the fire department,” Clarke said. “Again I don’t know who this guy is but he’s like Hercules and he brought me up out of that hole and I appreciate him.”

He was taken to Temple University Hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

“My hip and my back a little bit hurts,” he said. “It’s just shocking. It was a shocking situation to be in that hole.”

While Clarke is thankful for the rescue, he remains frustrated that the sinkhole hasn’t been covered up.  

“The hole has been here about a week now,” he said. “Why would you come and patch up that hole and really not get somebody else? Even if it was the water department. They could have even put a cover, one of those steel plates that you can move them but nobody would have been able to fall in that hole there.”

A spokesman for the Philadelphia Water Department told NBC10 they returned to the sinkhole after Clarke was rescued and set up more cones and yellow tape around it. They plan on reevaluating the hole and performing any potential repairs later this week.

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