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article imageLarge sinkhole swallows 3 cars on Chicago's South Side (video)

By Anne Sewell     Apr 18, 2013 in World
Chicago - One driver was hospitalized on Thursday when a large sinkhole opened up in a street on Chicago's South Side, swallowing three cars. This may have been caused by heavy rains damaging the cast iron water main.

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Chicago Police Department spokesman, Mike Sullivan told NBCChicago.com that one man was hospitalized as the road collapsed beneath him. The man was driving when the road buckled and caved in at 9600 South Houston Avenue, close to the Chicago Skyway. He has been taken to the Northwestern Memorial Hospital and reportedly his injuries are not life-threatening.
NBC reported that two cars were inside the hole when fire and rescue crews arrived and a third car, which was parked on the side of the road, slid into the hole after the crews arrived on the scene.
Tom LaPorte, spokesman for the Water Department, told the Chicago Tribune that the sinkhole was caused when a water main broke in the area. He said that the recent heavy rains could have aggravated the cast iron water main that dates back to 1915.
Chicago has suffered from an all-night rainstorm and flooding in the area has caused road closures, including two major expressways and around 300 flights were canceled at O'Hare International Airport.
The rain gauge at O'Hare showed five inches of rain, and several schools were closed as two more inches of rain is expected throughout the day. Rivers continue to swell and neighborhoods are flooding.
Commuters using the expressways to travel to work were urged to consider staying home by the Illinois Department of Transportation.
A state of emergency has been declared by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn as thousands of residents are affected by the widespread flooding, with another wave of storms on the way.
"Heavy rainfall over the past few days has created dangerous flooding in areas across the state," Quinn said. "Everyone should stay home and off the roads if possible. To ensure safety as these storms continue, people should be alert and avoid flooded areas."
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