Henrico woman Calls 12 for help with sinkhole

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – A Henrico woman called NBC12 when her front lawn started caving in. Now, she's wondering if anything can be done before someone gets badly hurt.

Paulette Simms first saw it about four weeks ago.

"And it's a little bit more than a sinkhole," she said as she showed us the gaping hole forming in her yard, located in Chipper Way in Eastern Henrico.

Paulette and her neighbor now share more than a property line. They've got this sinkhole: about two feet in diameter and at least ten feet deep.

"Very frustrating. Yes it is," Simms said.

Because the hole is so big, it's especially a concern for people walking in the neighborhood.

"You might wake up, and hear somebody hollering...'Help me, help me!' You know? Because they're in the sinkhole," Simms said.

Afraid that it might keep getting bigger, Paulette called three landscapers who convinced her it's not her problem.

"I think it's a county issue, and I think they need to get out here and fix it," Simms said.

After "Calling 12", Paulette got a visit from the Henrico County DPW and state geologists, who got down on their bellies to take a look. But the news they later broke to Paulette wasn't very good either. They said the hole wasn't the result of a broken water main or sewer line.

"The only other scenario it could be is an old well, or, there could've been and old tree here from years ago and the root system has rotted and decayed, and of course that's gonna leave a void," said Bernard McLoughlin of the DPW.

Since the hole is not in the county right-of-way, Paulette -and, possibly her neighbor- are responsible for a fix, which will cost at least $1,000. Making matters worse: Paulette is unemployed, and is scrambling for the money.

"You know, it happened. And I'm just glad no one got hurt. That's the good thing that came out of it," Simms said.

Paulette says she and her neighbor will likely split the cost of filling the hole, but she's still figuring out how much work that will take.

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