Meridian Meridian emergency responders are on the scene of a large sinkhole that has developed in the parking lot of the new IHOP restaurant on Frontage Road in Meridian. They were called out to the scene about 7:15 tonight. We're told that some cars have fallen in.
We do not yet know what caused the sinkhole, but Meridian has received about 3 inches of rain this weekend, and nearly 10 in the last two weeks. the IHOP restaurant just opened earlier this week.
More information on this developing story as we get it. We have a crew on the way to the scene now.
Customers inside IHOP tell Newscenter 11 they heard a series of booms, followed by the loss of electricity. The aftermath, was that of the Earth opening up and swallowing roughly 15 vehicles. It wasn't long before emergency personnel arrived on scene and quickly roped off the area.
"We received a call earlier this evening of a sinkhole opening up at the new IHOP restaurant," Meridian Fire Department Chief Battalion Wayne Cook said. "Upon arrival, we found multiple vehicles in the ditch. At this time, we are trying to stabilize this and keep everyone away."
Several witnesses on scene say they believe a water line ruptured as well, that left nearby hotels without water. The hole which is roughly 50 feet wide extends from the front of the building all the way to Sowashee Creek, nearly 600 feet. Cook says that investigation in the matter won't start until Sunday, as the main concern right now is to continuously rope off the area to keep everyone away.
"As far as the investigation side of it, that's going to be everybody who is involved with this," Cook said.
Witnesses also said that after the event, they weren't quite sure what was going on and the series of booms event prompted an employee to yell earthquake. We are told that as of now, there are no reports of anyone being injured in the incident.