Water main break causes large sinkhole in Northeast DC

Repair crews are dealing with a major mess in Northeast D.C. after a water main break caused a major sinkhole on 13th Street.

The 8-inch water main that broke caused a sinkhole big enough that it started to swallow vehicles.

Neighbors pulled out their phones when the sinkhole on their street started to get bigger and bigger.

"My neighbor drove the green SUV down the street and her car went in face first," said Sharon Goings.

Residents say the sinkhole was big enough that it started to swallow up at least parts of vehicles.

"The ground gave in as the SUV drove down right here," said Pamela Abraham. "All of a sudden, the truck just dropped."

"The whole tire went completely in the hole and the car was sitting up in the air," said Goings.

The people who were inside the car got out and all of the cars towed, including one belonging to Eric Rouse, who was at work when he got the shocking call.

"My next door neighbor called to say, ‘Hey, you may want to get here, your car is about to fall into a sinkhole,'" he said. "I was like, ‘You're joking.'"

Some neighbors are upset. They say they repeatedly called the city as early as 7 a.m. Tuesday to warn of problem here. But they say no one showed up until midday after the small problem ballooned into a really big one.

"It was frightening because living on the side, you don't know if your home is going under," Goings said.

"This did not have to happen," said Abraham. "If they had came around at 7:30 or 8 [a.m.], the could have turned the water off and the water would not have run so long."

The city says its response time was typical given only the roads and no homes were affected.

A DC Water spokesperson said they are trying to get to calls as quickly as possible, but admits they are slammed. He said they have responded to twice as many water breaks in February compared to a year ago and they have already had more than 200 water main breaks since January -- half of what they typically see all year long.

"I guess it is D.C. streets," said Rouse. "It seems like they are putting band aids on things and the same thing is happening."

Officials said they hope to repair the pipe and fill in the hole by the end of the night, but they won't be able to open the road right away. They are going to have to get the District Department of Transportation out here on Wednesday to talk about road restoration, which could take a little bit longer.