sink hole

Work crews in Pawtucket were busy Thursday cleaning up a major sink hole that developed after a water main break on London Avenue in Pawtucket early Thursday morning. Carlos Rodriguez, of 166 London Ave., found his truck in the hole early Thursday.

By JON BAKER

jbaker@pawtuckettimes.com

PAWTUCKET – Talk about your rude, but also welcome, awakening.

At about 3 a.m., the doorbell to Carlos Rodriguez’ front door at 166 London Avenue rang, and Rodriguez scrambled to answer it. That’s when his neighbor from across the street informed him the pavement was buckling and he should move his truck into the driveway.

As Rodriguez did, a massive sinkhole swallowed up the left front portion of his white 2014 Chevy 1500 pickup, leaving him and more than a few neighbors stunned by the development.

According to city officials, a water main had burst, and it caused the sinkhole just above the break eight in front of the Rodriguez family driveway. They said it probably happened because of the yo-yo-like temperature changes the region has experienced the last few days.

Pawtucket Water Supply Board and construction crews flocked to the London Avenue scene shortly after 3 a.m., a spokesperson for Mayor Donald R. Grebien said, and most of the damage had been repaired by mid-afternoon. That’s when crews at the location were seen tearing up asphalt and smoothing dirt on the street, preparing to repave the area heading from Rodriguez’ home toward Daggett Avenue.

One construction worker said he anticipated the repaving of the street to be concluded by darkness.

Still, Rodriguez said he had quite a day.

“My neighbor rang the doorbell around 3; I had been sound asleep,” Rodriguez said. “He told me he had just come from work; he noticed the street was flooded. I looked out the front door and there was a ton of water coming out from the end of my driveway. He told me the street was cracking up and down, so I told him, ‘I better move my car! It’s right there!’

“I had parked my car on the street; I actually saw it tilting, probably because of its weight; I got into the truck and started it, and as soon as I started to pull into the driveway, boom! The hole opened up and the truck went in. It was dark, so I didn’t know if the hole opened up then or if it was already there. I might have driven into it.”

Rodriguez is a truck driver for F.W. Webb of Warwick and delivers to businesses different HVAC systems, and was supposed to have left for work at 4:30 a.m.

“I texted my boss a picture of my truck sitting in the sinkhole, and he texted me back, ‘Wow! That’s crazy! Sorry, man,’” Rodrigues said. “He told me not to come into work today, to take care of my truck.”

Rodriguez then said he hoped the city and his insurance would help him get the Chevy fixed. In the interim, he will use his son-in-law’s vehicle to get to and from work for the next few days.

Another neighbor, Bernard Belle, lives down the street, and he found out about the sinkhole when his cousin called him later that morning to tell him she had just seen it on the TV news.

“She said it was on my street, so I came here to investigate,” Belle said. “I saw the fire truck and police cars here, so I was wondering what was going on anyway. I saw Carlos’ truck in the sinkhole and thought, ‘That’s wild!’ I didn’t know what happened.

“Apparently, a water pipe had burst. Apparently, when he jumped out of the truck after trying to move it, he left the door open. I haven’t seen anything like this around here, that’s for sure.”

When asked if he minded being awoken at 3 a.m., Rodriguez said, “Heck, no. I’m thankful. I noticed some water running down the street at midnight, so I knew something was going on.”

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