Workers discover signs of kids living in sewer

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Sunday, August 28, 2016
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They found clothes, toys, food and other miscellaneous belongings beneath the manhole.

FEDERAL WAY, WA -- Prying off an 80-pound manhole cover, Lakehaven Utility District workers were shocked to see what they found 14-feet down.

Ken Miller, a 30-year engineering manager with the Lakehaven Utility District, said he's never seen anything quite like it.

Friday afternoon, Miller said meter readers with the utility company spied an open manhole in the middle of a street.

They closed it, but came back later and saw it was open again.

"They pushed the manhole closed, and then later on they came back and the manhole was open," Miller said.

The Lakehaven Sewer District found clothes, toys, food and other miscellaneous belongings beneath the manhole.

They contacted the Lakehaven Sewer District, who sent out a crew to investigate. When they looked inside, they were surprised to find clothes, toys, food and other miscellaneous belongings.

Miller said the crew later made contact with kids nearby who said they had stayed there.

In addition to debris, Miller warns there is limited oxygen and the possibility of vermin and potential gases.

He said crews that venture down into the sewer wear protective equipment and take other precautions against potential dangers.

In addition to the limited air, a car parked on top could have had them trapped.

KIRO reports that neighbors say they noticed the manhole cover slightly ajar for at least the past month, but are still shocked to hear the details.

"No one should be down there ... this could have been life and death," Miller said.

Miller said all of the items the crews uncovered have been removed.