Sinkhole claims home in Nova Scotia, photos here
Monday, September 4, 2017, 1:57 PM - Chris Strickey's family of Hants County, Nova Scotia awoke predawn Sunday to what sounded like a home invasion. Turns out a sinkhole was in the process of swallowing their house.
The home located on Mountain View Drive in Falmouth is about 12 years old and had no prior signs of structure failure, Strickey told CBC.
While Strickey was not home at the time of the collapse, his wife and 16-year-old daughter were.
"I received a phone call at one minute before 4 a.m. from my wife to tell me that literally the house had collapsed," the Hants County resident told the news agency.
Strickey told CBC his wife and daughter hid in a closet and called 911 as they feared their home was being robbed. When police arrived on scene, it was clear that a sinkhole had opened up.
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"The first floor had probably collapsed 20-30 feet into the sinkhole," Paul Maynard, deputy fire chief with Hantsport Fire Department told CBC. "We called the power company and made sure the power was disconnected, and the water and sewer lines were disconnected. There was an outside oil tank that was compromised. We had a hazmat team from Annapolis Valley respond to the scene and pump out the oil tank."
Firefighters managed to collect some of the family's belongings before the structure was deemed too unsafe to enter.
"It's hard to think of all the stuff that we've lost, but so be it. Everyone is safe," Strickey told CBC.
Strickey's neighbour Rick Porter watched as firefighters secured the scene.
"They cut the back of the house open and drug the vehicle out the back wall of the garage and then put it on a tow truck and then took it away," Porter told CBC.
The cause remains under investigation. A structural engineer and geotechnician are expected to complete a survey of the building, according to the news agency.
In Nova Scotia most natural sinkholes are formed over areas where Windsor Group gypsum occurs in the near surface, according to the province's Department of Natural Resources website.
"The geological boundary between the gypsum and salt-bearing Windsor Group and the underlying sandstones and shales of the Horton Group or older basement rocks is particularly prone to sinkhole development," the website reads.
In Maynard's 28 years of firefighting, this was his first sinkhole call.
"It's a freak thing. It's the first time that I've ever experienced this in the area that involved a structure," he told CBC. "They [sinkholes] are a little bit unpredictable."