"We Don't Know What Happened" St. Louis Officials Clueless As Downtown Sinkhole Swallows Car

Tyler Durden's picture

In a development that should send a chill down the spine of every citizen of St. Louis  – especially considering the city’s efforts to revitalize its violence-plagued downtown – a sinkhole spontaneously appeared in the city's downtown, swallowing a car that had been parked street side.

And even more concering, city officials say they have no idea how it happened.

Vincent Foggie, of the city's water division, said the hole was missing mounds of dirt that normally support the road's asphalt-topped concrete. He called such voids large enough to swallow a vehicle a rarity in the city.


"We don't know what happened," Foggie said. "I have no idea where the dirt went."

St Louis resident Jordan Westerberg parked his car on sixth street downtown near the railway exchange building on Thursday morning as he and his fiancée headed to an early morning workout at a gym nearby.

When he returned shortly before 7 a.m. local time, his Toyota Camry was nowhere to be found. Westerberg and his fiancée said they figured it had been towed.

Then, they saw a gathering of street workers near their parking space, tipping them off that something wasn’t right. That's when Westerberg, 25, found the vehicle in the gaping hole - about 20 feet (6 meters) deep and 8 to 10 feet (2.5 to 3 meters) across - that took up the entire southbound lane of the street, next to a vacant building expected to feature apartments, office space and retail, according to the Associated Press.

No injuries were reported.

"It's pretty crazy," said Westerberg, who lives in a loft downtown. "We could've been in the car. It's a compact car. It's not like it's heavy."

The city said it wasn’t immediately clear what caused the sinkhole, though an 8-inch, below-ground water main at the site appeared to have been broken for some time, given the amount of erosion.

Now for the real question: How does a water main break in a major city’s downtown without city officials being alerted somehow?

Hopefully the city will refund Westerberg's parking costs, at the very least.

Here’s a video courtesy of local AM radio station KMOX.


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Manthong's picture


..an illustration of the beginning of the end for the sub-prime auto loan market.


Stuck on Zero's picture

That's Dr. Quatermass standing beside the pit.  It has taken five millions years to arrive.

tmosley's picture

>We have no idea where the dirt went

>I'm sure the pipe pouring thousands of tonnes of water onto the car has nothing to do with it.

These people are real geniuses.

RAT005's picture

I've done a bit of water pipe design for industry.  An 8" line would move about 1,500 gpm before it broke and about 2,200gpm after it broke.  1,500 gpm would serve 1,000 to 2,000 residents depending on the surge system.  Not something you would expect to go unnoticed.


nmewn's picture

Apparently not too concerned with the LACK OF water pressure back up stream either, prolly paved over the valve...lol.

luky luke's picture

Well, it's not just scientists who are PUZZLED by things they don't get.


nmewn's picture

City utility workers are not "scientists" you fucking retard.

Where are your brothers & sisters of spam AltRightGirl and Art Van Delay this evening? ;-)

Juggernaut x2's picture

They may not be scientists, Shekky, but unionized Streets and San guys make more $ and get a pension

virgule's picture

I'd be worried if I was the owner of the building, or a tenant in there. Check the foundations, quick!

playit's picture

I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do... www.jobproplan.com

PT's picture

Good thing people take out 25 - 40 year mortgages on a place that might fall in a sink hole one day.

Sink hole?

Sink hole?????

When I was a kid, if you told someone that the ground opened up and dropped in a car, unless it was caused by an earth quake, you would have been laughed out of school.  It never happened.  Since the new millenium, well how many is that now???

Yes, I understand news travels a lot better these days but where are these sink holes happening now?  They're not exactly out in the middle of Bumfuck, Nowheresville now, are they?  WTF is going on?



I guess we'll know they are getting out of hand when Insurance Premiums go up or they are specifically excluded in policies.

HowdyDoody's picture

Perhaps it was the Norks digging a tunnel to escape 'The Evil Dictator' (TM) (Pat Pend) aka Fat Boy. All they wanted was some 'Freedom and Democracy' (TM) (Pat Pend).

virgule's picture

how to delete a double-post?

Déjà view's picture

Spirit Of St. Louis...WHAT HAPPENED?

Yellowstone 'fault'...


Kprime's picture

.gov head up ass syndrome. with your head up your ass, It's hard to see things clearly.

7thGenMO's picture

Good point, but downtown St. Lou may have a loop system for water - I'm fairly certain it has a steam loop - so one main break doesn't stop flow.  Also, there are many caverns to drain water - they provided the 1800's breweries with natural refrigeration.

azusgm's picture

Interesting remark. Highly deserving of an uppie. Thanks.

Ajax-1's picture

Just add more Brawndo. It has electrolytes.

whatswhat1@yahoo.com's picture

At the rate of 2,200 GPM, it may have dug a deep tunnel to New Orleans by the 4th of July, possibly taking down a building or two in the meantime.  Of course, they will choose some nobody to blame it on.

dirty fingernails's picture

The water doesn't always run to the surface. In this setting, I'm sure it was in the storm sewers and/or sanitary sewers. When a break happens, if it doesn't surface its a waiting and detective game. It can take weeks to find a break

Déjà view's picture

St. Louis testing sewer system video...lots of smoke coming up through many front lawns in one neighborhood...youtube...

EddieLomax's picture

In the UK the leakage rates are very high, something like 10-20% of water is wasted, so 1000-2000 residents worth of water going missing is noise.  Easy to see where the dirt went, because if that hole doesn't fill with water then the dirt went whereever the water went too...

This illustrates the ever growing challenge of maintaining all our infrastructure.  Politicians keep harping on about how we should have all this snazzy new infrastructure like high speed trains, when just maintaining the stuff we already built would be an achievement in itself.

They will also find that, surprisingly, stuffing your formerly advanced country full of low IQ unskilled inbreds immigrants to hand make sandwiches etc, doesn't pay for the maintenance on what we have already.  So either we devolved down to the third world infrastructure that matches the people it serves, or we get rid of the third world from our populations.

PT's picture

Ancient Rome used to blame the Water Thieves but I think that was a different problem.  (They didn't quite have the right equations for calculating flow or something.)

Yog Soggoth's picture

Everyone was scratching their heads at why the water bill just kept going up and up. Sarasota did a report on who was wasting the most water and everyone expected some golf course because they are the most wasteful by volume. Turned out the mayor took no 1 because he supposedly had a leaky pool, so he said. Sounds like a tax scam to me.

mary mary's picture

I bet the mayor's grass is nice and green.

nmewn's picture

Un-Fucking-Real ain't it?

"Wow! We can't figure out why this hole isn't filling up with water! Send in the Feds!"...LMAO!

therover's picture

tm...ya think ? 

What the fuck is wrong with these people ? 

Son of Loki's picture

Looks like the gold storage room at the fed.....a big empty hole!

Kprime's picture

how else do you get to be in government?

SilverRhino's picture

Dindus ... they even stealing the dirt downtown ... 


HRClinton's picture

Next Undisclosed Source for Fake Media:  Deep Hole.

Sam.Spade's picture

If city officials really don't know what happened, I suggest they look at


You might find it pretty interesting, too.  And scary, considering our failing infrastructure.

The central planners's picture

Just look in a possitive way, now St louis has a a new carwash paid by the taxpayers.

Lumberjack's picture

Don't know what happened? In physics it's called a liberal event horizon.

That's what happened.

G-R-U-N-T's picture

The dumb shit politicians and nation destroying bureaucrats would rather loot those they serve then repair and upgrade desperately needed infrastructure!

Déjà view's picture

Joe The Plumbers fault...

ClassicalLib17's picture

Here's how it works: They collect for city water; this is called an enterprise fund; the money is used to cover the payroll and provide an overage for upkeep and replacement; the overage ends up in the general fund for other purposes; no cash saved for future upgrades; city has to borrow in the bond market to replace what they should have had the cash for; bonds cost money out of the city budget; neglect infrastructure until something bad happens; scare the public into accepting huge bond issue to repair infrastructure that brought in enough money to maintain without borrowing in the first place; wash, rinse, repeat

dirty fingernails's picture

The city I work in has water mains from 1910. City council and Utility commitee refuse to pay for replacement or upgrades and always try to cut the water dept's budget, every year. City Hall is always asking for more


Parr if the infrastructure problem is the cost of materials is outrageous. It cost my city almost $80,000 to replace 150' of 10" main and service fittings.

HRH Feant2's picture

My city war bill has done nothing but increase. It includes run off fees and the sewer. At this time my water bill will be more than my electric / gas bill for the summer (and I use AC all summer, too). It is insane.

I take a shower every other day. I run the dishwasher every other day. I do about three loads of laundry a week. How the fuck can my neighbor's with three to five people in the house afford a $150-a-month water bill? I don't get it.

HRH Feant2's picture

Damn. City may want to hire an outside professional that knows what the fuck is going on.

That broken water main is a clue.

Kprime's picture

they can only hire union government workers.  they are all clueless

dirty fingernails's picture

Despite the raging ignorance about this topic here at ZH, I can verify that even having an 8" main broken doesn't mean the water is coming out/up anywhere visible or detectible sometimes for weeks. All they know is they are losing a lot of water and everyone is told to keep an eye out for it. Eventually it'll show, unfortunately sometimes like this, but usually it finds a storm sewer if it doesn't surface. It can surface more than 50' from the break.

Class 2 Water Operator for all of you who will doubt me.

Eyes Opened's picture

Mr. Class 2 water operator... maybe if u divided up the network into sections , with pressure monitor sensors on each, u might find the leaks more quickly ?? U know... like most other 1st world countries do...

Just sayin....

JohninMK's picture

Stupid comment given the age of the networks and lack of investment. The cost of your suggestion would be astronomical, in fact probably close to the cost of going to the moon.

The Government thinks that it is a far better idea to spend that kind of money killing people around the world. Sadly the water industry does not have the political power of the MIC.

Dancing Disraeli's picture

Last I checked, city governments didn't have armies distributed abroad.

Rather, the water revenue gets siphoned off to corrupt local entities instead.

zanza's picture

I dindu nothin!