NORWOOD, Ohio - A sinkhole up to 40 feet deep developed in a Norwood residence's basement Thursday fueling a debate between the homeowner and city officials.
A sinkhole between 30 and 40 feet deep and about 15 feet wide developed in the corner of the basement of a residence in the 1900 block of Maple Avenue. No one was injured as a result of the sinkhole, but it has caused at least hundreds of dollars in damage.
Location of previous sinkhole
The homeowner, Teresa Moyers, said the sinkhole is a continuation of one that happened in January at the residence. The storm drain collapsed, causing a sinkhole in the yard behind the house, directly above the most recent sinkhole. The Metropolitan Sewer District filled the first sinkhole and an engineer ruled that the house was safe for tenants. The engineer said there was no threat of the other land sinking, according to the Moyers.
Moyers, who rents the property to several tenants, said she hired another engineer to examine the sinkhole, who gave the same diagnosis — the house was safe to reside in.
Now, after Thursday's sinkhole in nearly the same location, Norwood officials are changing their tune, saying tenants must move out and the house will be demolished.
Supervising Management Analyst Metropolitan Sewer District Supervising Management Analyst Cassandra Hillary said a jurisdictional dispute caused an almost three-month delay in the response to January's sinkhole. It was not clear if the property was part of Norwood or Metropolitan Sewer District's coverage.
"Until they were sorted out, we couldn't do anything," said Hillary, who added that Metropolitan Sewer District determined it was in their coverage area in April.
Moyers said she has been going back and forth with the city of Norwood about the sinkhole and the residents' safety for more than four months. She said after Thursday's sinkhole, the Metropolitan Sewer District and the city of Norwood are playing the "blame game."
Tenant Justice Munoz
One tenant, Justice Munoz said he woke up before 4 a.m. because the power had gone out and found that his basement had about eight feet of standing water. He said he called his landlord, returned to the basement only to find that the water was gone and a sinkhole was in the right corner of the basement.
"The water was gone, and I heard clinking and cracking noises, the water was gone, so there's about 30 feet down in the ground," Munoz said. "There's nothing there."
Munoz, who has lived in the house for one year, said he lost all of his family photos as well as a new mattress and box spring.
"I mean everything, everything I had that was worth value is gone," he said. "You can't replace it. There's no money in the world you can replace what I had."
Hillary said that the next step for the Metropolitan Sewer District is to relocate the tenants and purchase the property from Moyers in order to raze the house.
A manager at Mattress Firm in Rookwood has offered to donate a mattress and box spring to Munoz and his family. Munoz was almost in tears when 9 On Your Side's Kendall Herold told him of the news, and offered his gratitude to the store.
Norwood's sinkhole comes after a sinkhole opened under a Seffner, Fla., house in April killing 37-year-old Jeffrey Bush. The homes on either side of the house with the sinkhole were demolished Wednesday, according to an ABC News story .
9 On Your Side Reporter Kendall Herold contributed to this report.
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