Allentown, Pa. Family run out of time to save home after sinkhole forms

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (WPVI) – It was two days after Christmas 2020 when a water pipe burst near Devonshire Road in Allentown, Pa.

Neighbors said the water flowed like a river for days.

Laura Zimmerman’s home, which she shared with her 86-year-old mother, has been among the hardest hit. She said a sinkhole had developed and compromised the structural integrity of the house.

Zimmerman said the situation is not improving.

“The house could still sink,” she said. “It continues to decline as soil erosion around the house continues.”

Zimmerman said she still didn’t know when or if she and her mother would be allowed to come home.

She says her owner’s insurance policy includes cover for sinkholes, but she quickly learned that not all sinkholes are the same.

“Our sinkhole apparently does not meet their demands or standards. I’m looking for help. I have sinkhole insurance and I have sinkholes,” Zimmerman said.

Now, as the Lehigh County Authority and the insurance company argue over whether the ruptured water line caused the sinkhole, time is running out for Zimmerman and his mother as the police are due to expire in about two months.

Zimmerman admits she’s preparing for the worst.

“The house is pretty much packed,” she said. “We have stuff in stock. We’re still doing things because I don’t know if I will ever be able to come home.”

The two women are retired and live on a fixed income. Losing their home with nothing to show would lead to serious financial hardship.

Action News reached out to Zimmerman’s insurance company to get a better understanding of why this sinkhole doesn’t match his policy. We had not yet had an answer.

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