Sunday, January 01, 2012
Union and West End Cemetery - Sinkhole on 10th Street
A sinkhole developed on Tenth Street on the morning of Thursday, December 29th. Either a sinkhole developed and caused a water main to break or the water main broke and caused the damage to adjoining homes and the cemetery. Either way, the water from the water main caused the resulting damage.
Some of the water from the broken water main seeped into the Union and West End Cemetery and undermined a number of grave sites. The exact number is not known. The Allentown Fire Department personnel roped off a section that includes 54 grave sites. This would, barring unmarked graves not included in the count, be the outside estimate of graves that might be affected. The actual number of graves that were undermined may be lower. The lot numbers involved start with Lot Number 1075 and end at lot number 1122. However not all lot numbers from the beginning to the end of this series are inclusive in the affected area.
If you have relatives that you think might be included in the affected area, please feel free to contact Everette Carr, President of the Union and West End cemetery Association at 484-951-1568, for additional information.
In the near future, photos will be posted showing the extensive damage to Tenth Street and the cemetery.
Once the City of Allentown shut off the water supply, the damage in the cemetery did not worsen. This is not to suggest that there is not a problem. There is a serious problem in that graves have been undermined and the ground in this small section is not stable. Action will have to taken very soon to insure that no further damage is incurred.
Rest assured that while the Lehigh Coroner has the authority to exhume graves, this action has not been deemed necessary at the present time.
The cemetery officers and directors will keep all interested parties informed as the situation plays out.
We are looking forward to a time when everything is back to normal. However, in the meantime, the cemetery gates have been closed and locked and no admittance will be allowed until further notice.
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