Reprinted with permission
Building Collapsing in Freeland
WNEP News 16 (WNEP.com)
By Sean Bolen
Wednesday, March 23, UPDATED: 12:10 p.m.
UPDATED: 12:10 p.m.
Emergency crews are working on two problems in Freeland. One is a hole. It opened above an old mine shaft Tuesday night. Nearby, a vacant building is leaning and in danger of crashing down.
The Office of Surface Mining along with DEP and the Luzerne County Emergency Management Agency are looking at the hole in an alley just off Centre Street. One thing they determined is the building is not collapsing because of the mine shaft as earlier thought. Apparently it's just dilapidated. That means to the experts the subsidence problem is not as big as once believed but the hole down this alley is endangering a home.
Michael Kuhns from OSM is trying to asses the size and condition of the hole. He believes the ground above an old mine shaft is collapsing. Conditions are making it difficult to determine exactly how deep it is and whether it's growing.
"It's dangerous to look and see the full dimensions how deep it is but it looks to be ten to 20 feet in diameter and 30 to 35 feet deep," said Kuhns.
One person had to leave the home Tuesday. It is situated right next to the hole and is threatened. "We're just concerned with that one house right now. It was evacuated. As it is right now we're not going to do any more evacuations the main thing we're going to right now is put snow fence around it," said Freeland Mayor Tim Martin.
Ed Rossi owns property about 200 feet away from the hole. After checking an old map of the mines in the area he believes his place is safe. "It's okay. I just wanted to make sure there aren't any holes in it but according to the map we looked at, the mines are in that direction," Rossi said.
OSM expects to have a solution to the problem of the hole in a day or two. One likely solution is filling it with large rock.
The borough is trying to get in touch with the owner of the collapsing building to come up with a solution to that problem.