Buildings remain closed in Georgetown because of sinkhole

Building that collapsed Thursday night

The sinkhole problems continue in Georgetown. More than three days after the collapse of the Parrish Place retail building, more structural problems are showing up in other buildings nearby.

Employees at Coastal Staffing Services on Dozier Street right behind the collapsed building, started noticing changes in their office Monday.

They found cracks in corners and ceilings, a sloping floor and a small sinkhole under the back porch. The owner says he's making plans for leaving.

"We're going to start monitoring it ourselves and when it starts to go, we're gone," said owner Steve Peterson. "We're not staying here."

Peterson said there's no doubt in his mind what caused the problem: the city drainage project that's right out side his front door, with SC Department of Transportation crews pumping water out from under the streets.

The owner of the building that collapsed Thursday night said engineers don't know exactly what caused the sinkhole problem, but the timing is suspicious.

"The damages that we are facing now and are still facing just happened during the same time that the dewatering project has been going on here in our community over the last couple months," said Tony Jordan.

Jordan said his building is a total loss, but at least the retail tenants have found new places to do business and Highway 17 has reopened.

But other buildings, including a Bank of America branch and the Georgetown County Judicial Center, were closed Monday, due to cracks.

And while Peterson's business remains open for now, he said his property is completely devalued because of the sinkhole and he's not optimistic about getting compensation from the city or DOT.

"Do you expect to get anything out of it? Absolutely not. No aspirations whatsoever of recovering anything."

Peterson said that area has long been prone to flooding, which is why the city is doing the drainage project in the first place, but he said he'd rather have a flood than have his building fall in a hole.

DOT officials have said their crews have halted the dewatering process that was a part of the drainage project, until engineers confirm what caused the sinkhole. They expect that to take 10 to 14 days.

The judicial center is expected to open tomorrow.