LA fire truck stuck in sinkhole caused by burst water main

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Four Los Angeles firefighters have escaped unharmed from their fire engine, after it fell into a large sinkhole in the San Fernando Valley.

Update: 11:10 a.m.

Officials say the firefighters were responding to a call about flooding on a residential street when they saw excessive water on the road. Worried that the ground was unstable, they were trying to back-out the 22-ton engine when the road collapsed.

Two firefighters safely climbed out of the windows, while the other two jumped off the rear of the vehicle as water and mud began pouring in. Fire officials say the $500,000 engine appears salvageable, though the radio and computer system in the cab are likely damaged.

Crews are inspecting for possible damage to gas and sewer lines in the area.

The broken main had been scheduled for repair. It was part of the city's original water system, which dates to 1914.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

Update: 10:46 a.m.

A 6-inch water main ruptured and caused a sinkhole in the Valley Village section of the San Fernando Valley this morning. A fire truck sank into the hole and got stuck.

The sinkhole formed at the intersection of Hartsook Street and Bellingham Avenue, east of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and south of Magnolia Boulevard.

The fire truck had been dispatched to the scene. The driver saw a large amount of water in the intersection, stopped, and began backing out when the ground gave out, tilting the truck down about 45 degrees. All members of the fire crew got out of the truck safely.

The break affected about 40 water customers.

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