Resident finds sinkhole under house

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 6, 2001

Doris Fitzgerald can easily sum up her life this week.

&uot;I’m trying to survive,&uot; she said.

On Monday, the Natchez resident discovered a sinkhole under her house on 647 Maple St.

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Although she has been told the house is safe, Fitzgerald vacated the premises.

&uot;I told myself I had to leave,&uot; she said.

The hole is about 11-feet by 12-feet in size and is located just under the left side of Fitzgerald’s house.

She first became aware of the problem Monday when she thought she heard water running. &uot;So I came outside and cut the water off,&uot; she said.

A friend later came to look for a problem and found the hole filled with several feet of water, Fitzgerald said.

The Natchez Police Department roped off the house with police tape and Fitzgerald left to stay with family. She has lived in her Maple Street residence for 30 years but she now wants to find a new place to stay.

&uot;I don’t feel safe here anymore,&uot; she said.

Fitzgerald thinks the affects of the Mississippi River on the neighborhood and the presence of a cistern caused the problem.

Because a cistern is involved, the City of Natchez may be able to offer Fitzgerald some assistance.

&uot;There is a statute that deals with these old cisterns,&uot; said Natchez Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith. &uot;There is a statute that allows a government to help a person in filling those old cisterns in.&uot;

The City of Natchez can provide Fitzgerald with dirt or sand to fill the hole but she will have to find someone to do the work, Smith said.

&uot;I wanted to do as much as we legally could but that’s about the extent of what we can do,&uot; Smith said.

But Fitzgerald says she worries the house would still not be safe.

&uot;Once that sand gets wet, it’s going to settle,&uot; she said. &uot;It looks like (the City of Natchez) should be the ones to fix this hole, not me.&uot;

Smith said he could understand Fitzgerald’s concerns about the property.

&uot;I don’t blame her,&uot; he said. &uot;Just looking at it, it’s an awful bad looking situation.&uot;