Large sinkhole gives way in Richmond


Crews at the scene don't know why it happened. All firefighters can figure is due to all the recent rain, the ground and the road just couldn't handle it anymore and gave in.

Firefighters could see one car and an enormous hole where the road once stood. They were worried about what they couldn't see.

"Our greatest concern when we first got here was there were reports that a second vehicle might be buried underneath the first vehicle," said Richmond Fire Chief Michael Banks.

They were also worried that people could be trapped inside. For all they knew, someone could have been parking their car alongside this curb when the road suddenly gave way. They just didn't know. So, firefighters sent two men down the hillside with ropes attached to a fire engine's crane supporting them as they rappelled into the hole.

"This is kind of a first for me. I've seen smaller sinkholes, but this is a fairly good size one an fortunately no one was inside the vehicle that fell into the sinkhole," said Banks.

But residents couldn't help but think about what could have happened.

"It's kind of dangerous because we always ride around here, so hopefully the city will be able to take care of this," said Richmond resident Joshua Hernandez.

"If I would have been five minutes earlier, like I was going to be, it could have been me," said Rhonda Memory.

Memory is the manager of the apartment complex at the end of the road. She says she's driven it a million times, but the next time she comes this way, it won't be the same.

"Driving down this road, I won't be too excited. So, I will definitely probably gear more to the left than the right side of the road," said Memory.

Via Verdi Street is actually the only way to get to an apartment complex and a subdivision of homes in the Richmond neighborhood. Residents couldn't drive on the road Thursday night, but instead had to walk around all of the action. But even as the firefighters cleared the scene, they left behind some bad news for these residents.

"The road is going to be closed for quite some time. We had our city engineer come out here and also talked to our public works director and we all agreed the road needs to be closed," said Banks.

Crews will be back out in the morning to try to come up with a plan to fix the hole and to help those residents around this obstacle.

Also, residents will find out that if they had a car parked on Via Verdi Street, it was towed for safety reasons.

The home video was shot by Mark Wassberg.

Copyright © 2024 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.