Eastern Berks Fire was dispatched at 1910 hours on Saturday September 8 to investigate the report of a sink hole behind the homes on Sugar Maple Road in Washington Township. Additional information stated that it was threatening an underground pipeline. Crews arrived and found that it was more than a typical sinkhole, but one of the many iron ore mine shafts which dot the Barto & Boyertown area of Berks County. The shafts were filled in decades ago, but the recent heavy rains could have led to this one re-opening now. This one extended down 40 or 50 feet.
The pipeline exposed was initially thought to be UGI, but it was determined to be Mobil/Buckeye. That company was notified and was due to respond to assess the situation.
Fire crews roped off the area with caution tape, and turned the scene over to Washington Township Emergency Management officials, and the township manager. On scene were Attack 97 and Engine 97-1.
For more on some of the mining in the area including Thomas Edison’s investments – click here