UK weather: Homes evacuated after sinkhole opens up in Hemel Hempstead

Police say chasm is 20ft deep and 35ft wide

Lizzie Dearden
Saturday 15 February 2014 12:57 GMT
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This picture of the sinkhole in Hemel Hempstead was taken by a Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue firefighter.
This picture of the sinkhole in Hemel Hempstead was taken by a Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue firefighter.

Police have evacuated more than a dozen houses after a giant sinkhole opened up in a residential street in Hemel Hempstead.

Hertfordshire Constabulary said people were moved out of 17 homes in and around Oatridge Gardens for safety, although it has "mainly affected" the road.

The chasm, which is approximately 35ft wide and 20ft deep, could have been caused by rainwater washing away soil underneath the tarmac.

Police are assessing the situation with Dacorum Borough Council, specialist structural engineers and utilities companies.

Meanwhile, Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service are urging people to avoid the area.

The sinkhole is approximately 35ft wide and 20ft deep

The hole opened up after a night of gales and torrential rain from the latest Atlantic storm to hit Britain.

Two people died yesterday in the extreme conditions and thousands of homes are without power, while flooded communities continue to battle rising water levels.

Another sinkhole in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, swallowed a car earlier this month.

Phil Conran said he initially thought his stepdaughter's Volkswagen Lupo might have been stolen when he could not see it out the window, before realising it had disappeared into the ground.

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