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April 13, 2014

Sinkhole surprises Schuyler Falls homeowners

SCHUYLER FALLS — Dennis and Bonnie Trost were doing yard work when they discovered a sinkhole in their backyard, only about 15 feet from their home.

With no idea why the ground had caved in, they immediately blocked off the area.

“We were afraid to go into our backyard,” Dennis said. “You see it on TV when houses disappear. I mean, we have people come over with children; they could’ve disappeared in the ground.”

Bonnie said she was raking the yard that day, April 4. 

“I actually walked right over it,” she said. “I didn’t even know it was there.”

But when she saw it, she immediately backed away from it.

LARGER UNDERGROUND

The couple, who live on Military Turnpike, called their insurance company, and the man they spoke with said he had never seen anything like it before.

They also called highway officials from Plattsburgh and Schuyler Falls, as well as Schuyler Falls Town Supervisor Harold Ormsby.

He took about three steps back from the sinkhole when he realized its size, Dennis said.

Its opening was much smaller than the sinkhole itself, which measured 5 feet deep and 7 feet in width.

Ormsby said that he hadn’t ever seen anything like it before; sinkholes are rare in the North Country.

“I wish I could have helped out more,” he said. “I couldn’t figure out what was causing it.”

They decided to cave the hole in as much as possible then fill it with sand.

TOWNS DELIVERED

It was thought the ground caved in due to an old septic system or well in the yard, but no one knew for sure.

Aside from the destruction to their property, the Trost’s main concern was how much it would cost to fill in the sinkhole.

Dennis said the towns of Schuyler Fall and Plattsburgh provided two truckloads of sand without charging them anything.

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