Updated: Mon, 11 Mar 2013 13:27:45 GMT | By Danielle Johnson and David Chang, NBCPhiladelphia.com

Sinkhole forces Pennsylvania family to evacuate home



It seemed like any other Sunday for Doris Jenkins. The Bethlehem Township, Pa., resident got up bright and early to walk her dog. As soon as she stepped out of the house, however, she immediately saw something that would change the lives of her and her family forever.

"I came around the corner and said, 'Oh my God!'" said Jenkins. "My daughter's car was there. I woke her up and told her to get the car out of there!"

A sinkhole had opened up right in the driveway of her house on 2nd Street. Doris, her daughter Inga Jenkins and her granddaughter Claudia Jenkins were forced to evacuate their house.

"I wasn't thinking that this was how I was going to spend my Sunday afternoon," said Inga while in tears. "It's pretty upsetting to see your driveway start to fall into a hole."

Bethlehem Township Assistant Fire Chief Ron Ford told NBC10's Claudia Rivero that crews have been in the neighborhood all week repairing a break in a sewer line. Ford said it's unclear whether that work caused the sinkhole.

"We won't be sure how much damage it caused until we get the hole dug out and see where we are with the damage," said Ford.

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The Jenkins' home has cracks in the foundation and possible damage to the roof. Too dangerous for the family to live there, the home is the only one in the neighborhood that has been evacuated so far.

"We have to evacuate because of the fumes," said Claudia Jenkins.

"My daughter and I are going to a hotel for two weeks," said Inga. "We'll see what happens."

No other homes have been affected at this time, authorities said.

There was another report of two small sinkholes that opened up earlier this week on 2nd Street.

NBC10 reported on several sinkholes in the Lehigh Valley area over the last year. Several dozen Allentown families were forced to find temporary housing after a sinkhole opened under their street. In 2011, 54 graves were threatened by approaching water from a sinkhole.

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