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

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.



PT virgule Sat, 07/01/2017 - 07:36 Permalink

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.

In reply to by virgule

EddieLomax RAT005 Sat, 07/01/2017 - 05:19 Permalink

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.

In reply to by RAT005

Yog Soggoth RAT005 Sat, 07/01/2017 - 09:46 Permalink

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.

In reply to by RAT005

G-R-U-N-T Fri, 06/30/2017 - 21:07 Permalink

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

ClassicalLib17 G-R-U-N-T Fri, 06/30/2017 - 21:52 Permalink

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

In reply to by G-R-U-N-T

dirty fingernails ClassicalLib17 Fri, 06/30/2017 - 23:02 Permalink

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.

In reply to by ClassicalLib17

HRH Feant2 (not verified) ClassicalLib17 Sat, 07/01/2017 - 01:17 Permalink

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.

In reply to by ClassicalLib17

HRH Feant2 (not verified) Fri, 06/30/2017 - 21:05 Permalink

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

That broken water main is a clue.

dirty fingernails HRH Feant2 (not verified) Fri, 06/30/2017 - 22:54 Permalink

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.

In reply to by HRH Feant2 (not verified)

JohninMK Eyes Opened Sat, 07/01/2017 - 07:29 Permalink

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.

In reply to by Eyes Opened