Fire truck gets stuck in sinkhole while responding to call

The Denver Fire Department ladder truck was responding to a call about a water main break when the pavement began to sink and crack, trapping the back wheels

By Elise Schmelzer and Helen H. Richardson
The Denver Post 

DENVER — Denver resident Frank Flores awoke to his daughter yelling from their basement that her room was quickly filling with water. Flores ran downstairs to see water rapidly filling up the room from a drain near the family’s washer and dryer. Within minutes, the room was filled with more than 10 inches of water.

When Flores ran outside to see where the water was coming from, he discovered the Denver Fire Department’s ladder truck, Tower 23, stuck in a large sinkhole and water flooding outside of his home on Zuni Street.

The Denver fire truck sunk into the residential street in Athmar Park on Sunday morning while responding to a call about a water main break.

Firefighters responded to the 1300 block of south Zuni Street at about 6:10 a.m. Sunday for calls of a water problem, Denver Fire spokesman Brian Baker said. The truck was parked on the street when the pavement started to sink and crack at about 6:30 a.m., trapping the back wheels of the truck.

Within 20 minutes, Denver Water was able to get the water turned off, but not in enough time to save Flores’ basement, he said.

“I ran down to save as many collectibles as I could, realizing that I had important papers, my children’s treasured toys and other items I knew where down there,” he said.

An abatement company has already come out to help Flores and his neighbors survey the damage. Tower 23, which had been stuck since 6:15 a.m., was finally pulled out of the sinkhole at about 1:30 p.m. with the help of a large crane. Fire officials don’t know the extent of the damage to their truck yet, but had to take it out of service due to two large flat tires and other damage to the body of the truck.

Nobody was injured in the incident, Baker said.

Denver Water crews continued to work on the broken water main late Sunday afternoon, according to the agency. Officials expected water to be restored to the affected neighborhood by 7 p.m. and the road to reopen by midnight.

Copyright 2018 The Denver Post


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