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Giant Sinkhole in Carterville Deemed Priority One by DNR Insp - KOAM TV 7

Giant Sinkhole in Carterville Deemed Priority One by DNR Inspectors

Updated:
     A sinkhole in Carterville, Missouri is called a priority one case by inspectors from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources because lives are endangered..

   Residents worried about their homes and children. 

DNR supervisors checked out a sinkhole in Bill Oakes back yard this afternoon  coming up with the same measurement as Carterville public works crews. "About thirty feet," they said.

 Oakes worries, "It's concerning.  I got a lot of kids in my neighborhood.  There's two or three right here. There's numerous kids around here

 and they see tape and they want to go see what it is.  I can put a lock on the gate. I had my dog  in the yard but I don't want him out here.  I don't want him falling through a hole either."

Crystal Buckner's yard connects to Oakes.  A big swing set  sits just about  twenty  feet  from the sinkhole.

Crystal says,  "I'm  very devastated.  I'm very scared. My child can't even come out in his backyard and play because there's a hole right  there that I know comes over into my backyard."

The sinkhole sits right next to property the EPA  has reclaimed to remove  chat piles but officials and neighbors say that fix created more problems.

Carterville Public Works director Mike Smith says,  "You know,  they've closed in all these mine  pits. Closed them all down. Well that water's got to go somewhere  and so as they fill the pits up, the water moves around and  starts eroding the soil underneath  the ground. And once it can't support the upper soil anymore it just caves in." 

Crystal adds," It's not getting  any better. We're seeing our yard sinking. Our houses are sinking."

But most of Carterville is undermined and shafts under private property are at risk.

The DNR plans to excavate down to bedrock and cap the hole with a concrete plug. 

Until then a plastic fence  stretches  wide across Oakes yard as he watches the hole grow.

He says, "the thing's doubled in size since Saturday."

      State DNR supervisors wouldn't give a cost on the sinkhole fix but it will be covered by federal land reclamation funds.

     They anticipate having crews on the scene in two weeks.

     State maps indicate at least one more shaft on the property and another in the  middle of Lewis street where Oakes lives. 

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