L.A. City Fire Engine Swallowed by Sinkhole


Water Main Repairs Force Detours for Valley Commuters

VALLEY VILLAGE -- A Los Angeles City fire engine has been swallowed by a huge sinkhole caused by a new water main break in the San Fernando Valley.

The 6-inch pipe burst around 5:20 a.m. near the intersection of Hartsook Street and Bellingham Avenue, east of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and south of Magnolia Boulevard in the Valley Village area.

Engine 60, with a crew of four, was responding to an "unkown water problem in the street" when the roadway buckled, swallowing the truck, Capt. Steve Ruda told KTLA.

Ruda said the engine had already made it across the area when the veteran Captain inside decided they should back out. Two firefighters were sent off the rig to help back the truck out while the Captain and engineer stayed inside the cabin, he said.

As the 42,000-pound engine was reversing, the roadway swallowed the vehicle nose-first, he said.

All firefighters escaped without injury.

The cabin slowly continued to sink into the muddy water-filled hole.

A car parked on the street would not start because of the water damage, one resident told KTLA.

Department of Water and Power spokeswoman Kim Hughes said water service in the area will be shut off.

Fire crews said the engine will have to be removed from the hole before the water can be shut off because the damaged pipe is inaccessible.

Usually, the engine would be pulled out by a large tow truck, however, crews aren't sure if the roadway can support the weight. Ruda said geologists were being called in to determine what type of material they're dealing with, and whether it's stable enough to support more weight.

Traffic on Laurel Canyon Boulevard has not been affected by the incident.

The water main break is located just a few miles away from another pipe that burst Saturday in Studio City, forcing the closure of the heavily-traveled Coldwater Canyon Avenue.