Los Angeles Fire Department

Woman Rescued After Car Falls Into Sinkhole

Two vehicles fell into a 20-foot sinkhole in Studio City Friday and firefighters had to rescue one woman who escaped her car but was found standing on her overturned vehicle.

Firefighters arrived shortly after 8:15 p.m. in the 4200 block of N. Laurel Canyon Boulevard, two blocks south of Moorpark Street, to find one car upside-down in a large dark sinkhole full of rushing water, said Erik Scott of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

A 48-year-old woman was standing on her car, approximately 10 feet below street level, Scott said.

Firefighters lowered a 20-foot extension ladder down to the woman, allowing her to climb out. 

The woman told firefighters that while she was driving, she felt her car pitch to the left and then it tumbled into the sinkhole, Scott said. The airbags deployed and water started coming into the car, and she was not able to escape through the windows because they couldn't open. 

Scott said the woman was able to open the door and climb on top of the car.

"She thought she was going to die," Scott said. "Then she heard the firefighters yell back to her."

Following the rescue, on Woodbridge Street at Laurel Canyon Boulevard, a second car also fell when more of the roadway gave way. The driver was able to escape uninjured, Scott said.

"It just opened up, right when I backed up," said Isaiah Williams, the driver.

It is estimated the vehicles will be removed by daylight, Scott said,

The sinkhole was estimated to be about 20 feet wide.

The rushing water underneath the street undermined the soil beneath the asphalt, causing erosion, said Battalion Chief Mark Akahoshi of the Los Angeles City Fire Department.

Crews were working Saturday to repair the sinkhole. 

"The sinkhole was probably caused by a combination of excessive rain and a possible sewer failure," city public works officials said. "There were no sewer overflows and all the wastewater was contained in the sewer pipe." 

Laurel Canyon Boulevard is closed between Moorpark Street and Valley Spring Lane, and Woodbridge Street is closed east of Laurel Canyon Boulevard.

Drivers were advised to avoid the area.

City News Service contributed to this report.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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