Initially labeled as a sinkhole, massive hole appeared over a former city culvert in IHOP parking lot.
Investigators in Meridian, Mississippi, are trying to determine the cause of a massive cave-in that formed in the parking lot of an IHOP restaurant over the weekend, says a report on abcnews.com.
A dozen cars are being removed from the crater that possibly collapsed due to water from recent heavy rains eroding the ground underneath. Officials first labeled the rupture a sinkhole, but are now calling it a “draining structure collapse.”
The massive hole, some 375-feet long, 35-feet wide and 30-feet deep, appears to be located over a former city culvert.
The amazing stat, however, is that no one was injured during the collapse. Public Safety Director Buck Roberts said it was major damage, but no one was hurt, and the building was left intact. He praised the manager of the restaurant for doing an excellent job of evacuating the building.
A spokesman for IHOP, Craig Hoffman, said the company was thankful there were no injuries in the incident, according to a statement. He added the primary concern of the company was the safety of its team members and guests, and they plan to leave the restaurant closed until all repairs can be made.
Director Roberts said that police officers were on the scene of the accident about 7:15 PM, Saturday night. They reported the witnesses in the area thought there had been an earthquake.
IHOP was not the only business that suffered due to the collapse. Hotels and nearby restaurants were without water over the weekend as well.
Passers-by are also creating a disruption at the scene. Roberts is asking the public not to stop or slow down on the nearby interstate to take pictures or examine the area. He said they will allow you to park elsewhere and walk up to the scene, but please don’t stop in the interstate and create more accidents.
IHOP spokesman Hoffman assured the residents the location would be up and running as soon as possible. He added the company is looking forward to the re-opening and being able to be a part of such a great community.