Anne Bates, left, and daughter Barbara Bates take a look at a large sink hole that opened in their front yard at 610 Elrod Circle during a rainstorm Thur., July 4. | Clif Knight
Anne Bates, left, and daughter Barbara Bates take a look at a large sink hole that opened in their front yard at 610 Elrod Circle during a rainstorm Thur., July 4. | Clif Knight

Archived Story

Rain opens sink hole on Elrod Circle

Published 2:44pm Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Fourth of July rainstorm not only flooded Hartselle streets and left ponds of water standing in low-lying areas, it opened a large sink hole at the 610 Elrod Circle home of Anne Bates.

The hole measures approximately 12 feet wide, 20 feet long and 10 feet deep. It’s located about 15 feet from her mailbox and the same distance from her driveway.

“My daughter, Barbara Bates, noticed it about noon as she and I were sitting on the front porch,” Bates recalled.

She said, “Look Mother, the water has stopped running across the yard; it’s disappearing in a hole.”

“Sure enough, when we went to take a close look, the hole was about 12 feet deep and a big stream of water from a drainage culvert underneath the street was being sucked underground through an opening at the bottom of the hole,” Bates said.

“About an hour before then, I had gone to the mailbox to get mail. Usually, I walk across the yard, where the sinkhole is. This time, I took the longer route and I’m thankful I did. Otherwise, the ground could’ve caved in under my feet.”

The Bates home is located on the outer edge of the city limits, a short distance from a bluff and a waterfall.

Mrs. Bates said she is aware of caves in the neighborhood.

“Several years ago we had a large sink hole occur closer to the street,” she said. “My late husband, James Bates, went through an opening at the bottom and followed it through a cave for several yards.”

“The city filled the hole but they left rocks sticking through the ground, and I’ve never been able to mow over it,” she said.

Bates said she has notified the public works department, and a representative came and looked at the hole.

“I hope they can fill the hole and fix it so I can mow over it,” she stated. “It’s dangerous the way it is.”

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