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Workers fill second sinkhole in couple's yard

Just when George and Florence Stevens thought they were through withsinkholes, another one opened in their yard.

The first one developed in September, creating a 21-foot crater in the Stevenses' back yard. Crews filled it with sand, which stalled the hole's growth until Feb. 6 when they came back to pump the hole with 70 square yards of grout to solidify and plug up the hole for good.

A second sinkhole was discovered Monday by crews still working on the first one. It was smaller, about 5 feet wide and 4 feet deep, said Stevens, 75, who originally is from Massachusetts.

"I wasn't the least bit worried," said Stevens, whose front yard at 251 Grove Circle N looked like a construction site. Crews had set up their equipment there to work on the two holes.

At least, Stevens said, the hole developed when workers were there to fill it and prevent it from growing. Workers pumped grout into the smaller hole Monday afternoon and said it would settle overnight. They planned to come back Tuesday and finish filling the hole.

The first sinkhole swallowed up a lawn chair and a 15-foot crape myrtle shrub and threatened a back patio attached to the Stevenses' house. Before the ground was shored up, the patio cracked and leaned toward the hole, Stevens said.

"The house was never really threatened," Stevens said.

Sinkholes usually form when dirt is washed into underlying layers of porous limestone. The displaced dirt leaves a cavity that sometimes collapses and forms a sinkhole.

Mrs. Stevens seemed exasperated late Monday as she offered workers some doughnuts.

"I hope no more holes develop here," she mumbled.