By JAMES BURGER Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
An aging 36-inch sewer line on 1st Street that was already scheduled for repair failed and opened a sinkhole Friday morning, swallowing a parked Cadillac.
The 20-foot-by-10-foot hole opened sometime after 5 a.m. near the corner of 1st and L streets, witnesses said.
Bakersfield officials said the reinforced concrete line — estimated to be 60 to 70 years old — was to have been repaired in less than a month.
The Bakersfield City Council is expected to award a bid for the maintenance project on Wednesday, said Public Works Operations Manager Stuart Patteson.
According to Patteson, the top of the sewer pipe failed and dirt and asphalt collapsed into the open line. It just so happened that David Williams’ silver 1996 Cadillac de Ville was taken with it, back end first.
“I came over here and seen my car in the hole. Oh my god,” said Williams, who lives across town and was alerted by his father.
The impact of the falling car shook nearby homes. One resident said she thought it was an earthquake.
“It shook the house,” said Shamika Wooten, who lives on L Street. “I was standing up and it lifted me up.”
A crane pulled the car from the hole by 9 a.m.
“That’s a heavy car. I’ve had to push it a couple of times,” Williams said.
Williams had been working to get the car running. Friday, he could only watch as globs of dirt and sewage dropped from the shattered rear bumper.
“It was clean and it didn’t have no scratches or nothing,” he said sadly.
City officials used an excavator to clear the collapsed pipe and begin repairs, which could take a few weeks, Patteson said.
-- Californian photographer Henry A. Barrios contributed to this report.