Last week, Baltimore officials told those whose homes were affected by the 26th Street collapse that they may have to be kept out for up to 40 days. On April 30, part of the street buckled and caved in a major sinkhole, which sent at least 10 cars that were parked there down onto the railroad tracks below.
“We stood back and then within a 10-second period of time the whole… it’s like the ground opened up and the cars just kind of slid down and the whole retaining wall just gave way,” said one of the sinkhole’s victims. “There was a giant crash and a plume of dust. One neighbor was screaming and crying. It was pretty traumatic.”
Although auto accidents are well known for causing major injuries, with spinal cord injuries being the first and foremost common injury, no one was hurt in the collapse.
Director of Baltimore’s Department of Transportation William Johnson said that they’d be doing sonar testing to analyze the ground’s integrity, and that they’d do a video assessment of the area, but the street wouldn’t be able to reopen until such testing was completed. Crews, though, will begin to stabilize the area, but it would take up to 10 days.
In the wake of the shocking incident, Old Goucher Community Association members have banded together to help fundraise for the dozen families who’ve been displaced.
“One of the issues is that, for plenty of people, it was easy to rebound–they could go somewhere else, stay with family, get a hotel somewhere easily–but there were families on that block who were struggling financially,” community organizer Kely Cross said. “We wanted to try to help them any way we could.”
Those living on 26th have said that they’ve complained about the street’s condition for years, but the city did nothing. According to the mayor, though, the city government did send cameras into the street’s pipes to check for shifting, but found none.
“We know what has happened between that time and this on top of the ground,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “We know that we’ve had a ridiculously relentless winter, we know that we’ve had hurricane level rains. And we want to know–did that have an impact.”
In the meantime, multiple families have been displaced, and are now relying on the kindness of others.
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