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Germantown sinkhole traps city repair truck

Inquirer staff writer Bob Moran reports:

A Philadelphia Water Department truck collapsed into a sinkhole in Germantown this morning that was created by a water main break on Tuesday, officials said.

Pavement in the unit block of West Johnson Street began to crumble around 8 a.m. as the the maintenance truck, towing an air compressor, was backing down the street, said Jerry Stokes, a department assistant superintendent.
The work crew inside jumped out to safety and were unharmed as the rear wheels of the trucks fell into the initial hole, Stokes said.

At first, the hole was less than a foot deep, said Vangu Lusakweno, 65, a resident who lost water service along with about 100 other properties.

By late morning, the hole was about 10-feet wide and almost as deep. The front of the truck was lifted off the ground as it sank deeper into the hole.

Stokes said the department hoped to have water service restored to the area by late afternoon. The exact extent of the damage to the subsurface soil will have to determined before any repairs to the roadway can begin, he said.

The street was blocked off and several tow trucks and heavy equipment were on hand to help lift the truck out of the hole.

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