HAVERHILL, MASS. (WHDH) - People in Haverhill returned home Wednesday after a massive sinkhole forced evacuations last week.
The sinkhole opened near a multi-family home off Washington and Ford streets on Tuesday, Aug. 8 after recent torrential rain in the area damaged an underground pipe and caused flooding. Multiple properties were damaged around Haverhill and the city’s mayor declared a state of emergency.
The sinkhole, the mayor’s office said in a statement, was roughly 20 feet deep and 20 feet wide, causing upward of $1 million in damage.
A total of 22 people were temporarily displaced after the sinkhole opened, according to the mayor’s office, with residents staying in an area hotel while they waited for crews to give them the all-clear to return home.
With residents put up in the hotel, crews got to work filling the sinkhole, fixing the damaged pipe and stabilizing the ground in the area.
“The municipality is working hard to fix this,” said State Senate President Karen Spilka. “The residents are rolling up their sleeves and working together.”
Days after last week’s events, state, federal and local officials were back at the scene of the sinkhole on Wednesday making sure the area was safe.
One woman later speaking with 7NEWS described a scary situation as the sinkhole opened, saying she initially didn’t know what was going on as some of her neighbor’s chairs in a backyard area were swallowed.
“I heard a ‘Boom’ but I didn’t know it was in the back until my neighbor came by,” Aliah Ortiz said.
“I’m so glad that I’m actually home now,” another woman said on Wednesday. “I was just tired of being in the hotel.”
Officials left the scene in Haverhill shortly before 12 p.m.
As families continue settle back into their homes, local officials have urged anyone with damage from flooding on Aug. 8 to report their damage through a claims form available here.
Officials in Essex County are hoping to meet the threshold for federal aid. As a result, officials are asking residents to file their damage claims by Thursday.
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