South Side family forced to move from sinking home: EXCLUSIVE

South Side family forced to move from sinking home: EXCLUSIVE

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A South Side woman says she's being forced to abandon her home because of a sinkhole, but what's causing her house to sink is a mystery.

The problem home is in the 9000-block of South Loomis in the Beverly neighborhood. The home's owner, Crystal Aidara, says it's like living in a haunted house with cracks appearing in the walls, windows popping out of their frames, and a giant hole opening in her basement.

Aidara and her five children are being forced to move from their home of ten years because it's no longer safe to live there. So, they've started packing their belongings.

"My house started to sink. My foundation has sunk," Aidara says. "The structure of my home has been compromised."

Aidara showed us the evidence where giant cracks in the home's foundation is buckling and concrete steps are pulling away from the wall.

"I have windows that are popping out," she continues. "Just popping out. They have broken because of the pressure of the house collapsing."

In a crawlspace beneath the home, her contractor shows us what appears to be a sinkhole four feet wide and two feet deep. The support posts under her home have broken loose.

"Continuous deterioration," contractor Elijah Kizer says of the situation. "Her house is slowly falling in. Her house is sinking in."

Aidara and neighbors believe the problems stem from a broken natural gas line under the street that was repaired last year. They believe pressure from the gas may have caused a water pipe to break, washing out material and causing the ground to sink.

"Since it has started to get a lot warmer outside and the ground is softening, it's going a lot faster," Aidara notes.

But the water department says there are no major leaks in the pipes under the street, and even if there were it would be almost unheard of for a sinkhole to develop 20 or 30 feet away.

Alderman Howard Brookins says he's frustrated.

"This is a huge problem that nobody seems to have the answer for, whether it's her insurance company with respect to what happened there, whether it's people's gas or the city of Chicago Water Department in trying to get us an assessment," Brookins says.

Aidara says her insurance company told her that her policy doesn't cover sinkholes, so now she's looking for a shelter that will take her family without splitting up the kids.

"I need a place to stay," Aidara says. "I have children. I'm a single mom. And I've worked very hard to provide my family a home. And at this moment that's all been taken away from us."

The Water Department will be sending some inspectors to the house Thursday to see if they can figure out whether any water issues are causing the building to sink.

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