Studio City sinkhole may take several days to repair, officials say

STUDIO CITY, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Crews on Saturday were working to repair a massive sinkhole that swallowed two vehicles and briefly trapped one woman inside her car.

Although a timeline was not yet available, repairs may take several days to complete as crews worked carefully and slowly to ensure the safety of the roadways, according to Public Information Director of L.A. City Department of Public Works Elena Stern.

The sinkhole is about 20 feet deep and 30 feet wide, but Los Angeles fire officials said they did not believe the hole was going to get bigger.

Firefighters responded to the sinkhole at about 8:15 p.m. Friday night in the 4200 block of Laurel Canyon Boulevard, just two blocks south of Moorpark Street.

Upon arriving, firefighters found one car upside down in a deep and dark sinkhole, full of rushing water.

A woman was standing on the car, about 10 feet below street level, according to LAFD Public Service Officer Erik Scott.

"Firefighters jumped into action and rapidly lowered an (20-foot) extension ladder down to the (48-year-old female) allowing her to climb out, and transported her to a local hospital in fair condition," Scott stated in an LAFD alert.

The woman told firefighters that while she was driving, she felt the car tilt to the left before it tumbled into the sinkhole and the airbags deployed. Water then started coming into the vehicle and she tried to raise the windows, which didn't work, Scott added. The woman said she was able to open the door and climb on top of the car before screaming for help.

"She said she thought she was going to die, then she heard the firefighters yell back to her," Scott added.

The driver of another vehicle that was sitting right next to the hole was able to escape out of his car unharmed before the pavement continued to give way and caused his vehicle to fall through.

The bureaus of sanitation, engineering and contract administration also responded overnight and stabilized the sinkhole and removed the two vehicles, according to Stern.

She added that the sinkhole formed during the heavy rains Friday night and was likely caused by a combination of excessive showers and a possible sewer failure. There were no sewer overflows and all the wastewater was contained in the sewer pipe, she said.

Laurel Canyon Boulevard was closed between Moorpark Street and Valley Spring Lane, and Woodbridge Street was closed east of Laurel Canyon. Drivers were advised to avoid the area until further notice. Local access was available for residents in the neighborhood.
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