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Truck removed from Oakwood sinkhole

POSTED: January 18, 2017 7:01 p.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

A crew from Hulcher Services watch while an excavator digs a ramp Wednesday afternoon to pull out a A 55,000-pound truck stuck in a sinkhole in the parking lot of Diamond Auto Spa in Oakwood. The sinkhole appears to have been caused by an old storm drain that caved in, according to Oakwood officials.

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A few screeches, clangs and bangs later and the 55,000-pound truck was finally free.

The Hydro-Vac truck had been stuck in a sinkhole since 7:43 a.m. Tuesday. While the definite cause of the sinkhole is still unclear, it is the opinion of Jason Spencer, public works director for the city of Oakwood, that it was caused by an old storm drain.

The property owner of Diamond Auto Spa in Oakwood will foot the bill for the storm drain’s removal, replacement and filling the sinkhole, according to Spencer.

The owner of the auto care shop was visibly upset once the truck was out and the crew continued to demolish the existing pavement. He could not be reached for further comment.

Spencer said the city’s involvement will begin now that the truck is out.

It was pulled from its sinkhole that was 10 to 15 feet deep Wednesday afternoon around 3 p.m. in the parking lot of Diamond Auto Spa in Oakwood.

It was set to be hauled off later Wednesday evening, but it sat with dirt-caked back wheels and water spurting out of its tanks once it was pulled out.

Heavy machinery towed in by four tractor-trailers belonging to Hulcher Services carried the two Caterpillars with hooks and a clawed bulldozer that saved the day.

The workers used several methods to try to get the truck out, but ended up using all three machines to hook up the back end of the truck and pull it up. Once the back was lifted, the two Caterpillars pulled the truck from the front. A man was also placed inside the truck to steer it out of the hole.

Once the truck was out, the clawed bulldozer smashed up around the edges of the concrete, which seemed to fall away like they were made out of nothing.

An old storm drain caused the massive hole, which is now blocked off by caution and danger tape.

That didn’t stop spectators from trying to get the closest look they could.

Joyce and Donald Loggins live in Oakwood and take their cars to Diamond Auto Spa to have them cleaned.

Donald Loggins said he knew exactly where the hole would be since he’s familiar with the area and where the drain sits underground.

People like the Loggins couple drove by the scene all day Tuesday and Wednesday to sneak a peek at the monstrous hole and its contents.

Terry Towing was originally set to pull the truck out, but according to the company, the owners of the car shop decided to go with a different towing company.

In an effort to pull the truck out, crews began working as soon as the call came in at 7:43 a.m. Tuesday.

The truck belongs to the Badger Daylighting company, which specializes in Hydro-Vac trucks and is based out of Canada.

Workers from Badger on site had no comment on the situation and did not identify the driver.

According to Oakwood Police Patrol Sgt. Danny Crawford, the driver had pulled through the lot to check something on the truck when the hole fell through.

Water carried by the truck and about 150 gallons of fuel and were unloaded before work to remove the truck began. About 5 gallons of fuel leaked into the hole, Hall County Fire Services Capt. Zachary Brackett said.

The state Environmental Protection Division and utility companies were notified. No one was injured.

Hall County Fire Services were on standby for most of Tuesday.



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