HOA, engineers, inspectors work to find solution to sinkhole beneath Marion apartments

Residents of the Westwood Chateau Apartment Complex in Marion carried their belongings out of their homes Wednesday and loaded them up, not knowing when or if they'll ever return. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

More moving trucks sat in the parking lot of the Westwood Chateau Apartment Complex in Marion on Wednesday as people carrying bags of their belongings loaded them up not knowing when or if they'll ever return.

Meanwhile, Homeowners Association representative Larry Greene and other officials continued to work together to come up with a solution on how to fix this.

“We realize that there’s still a great danger to what’s below us here as well as these buildings and we will be addressing that as best we can, but we don’t know the answers yet,” said Greene.

Still, they're continuing to move forward.

Greene says they've hired someone to lower the levels in the lake behind the complex to try to get a closer look at what's causing the sinkhole to form, but with that comes a bigger issue.

“What we’re trying to do is to find out what to do with that water that’s in the lake that we’re gonna pump out. And, of course, it has to be done very carefully, pumping it out, because it could cause a collapse,” added Greene.

Greene says he's doing his best to keep everyone informed.

He recently spoke with one woman who's been a resident here for 49 years.

“She said, about 30 years ago, there used to be a fountain. It was fed by gravity flow from the lake, and it sprang a leak and they went in and tried to find it and were never able to. Finally, [they] capped it off so it wouldn’t be there and covered everything back up,” said Greene.

Greene says if that's what happened, then it's possible the pipe's been leaking for 30 years.

“If that is the case, than that might explain why we have the problem,” he added.

But, the bigger problem for residents is where they're going to live. That's why the Red Cross Emergency Response truck showed up Wednesday afternoon.

“If a person needs a place to stay tonight, we can provide a hotel for them for tonight, or for a couple days, and then provide long term assistance as well,” said Pete Kirchner,

Disaster Relief action team responder. “Whatever the need is, we’re there.”

We've asked Greene for a copy of the engineers report that deemed the property unsafe, but are still waiting to hear if we can get that.

Greene also tells us a local land surveying firm has been hired to monitor the movement of the buildings and to see if anything starts to move or sink.

Greene says HOA members, engineers, inspectors and city and county officials will all be meeting again Thursday morning to discuss what's next from here.

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