BOONVILLE, IN (WFIE) - A Boonville woman's home on Maxwell Drive is sinking some three feet into the ground.
The sidewalk in front of her home has buckled, the grass is starting to pull away, and the whole front yard sits much lower than the street. Fire officials say this isn't the only house in town with this problem.
Resident Jack Schreve says he's had cracks in his basement walls, and one side of his patio has sunk from subsidence, but nothing like the home on Maxwell Drive.
Fire chief Steve Byers says the elderly woman living in the home called and said she'd heard a series of loud pops, and she had water in her basement. Chief Byers says when firefighters arrived, they discovered the sidewalk and the front steps were totally pulling away from the home, and the front yard and facade of the house were caving in.
Byers says, "When you see the type of damage that it incurred, common sense tells you it's not safe to be in it let alone be living in it. We evacuated her immediately."
According to old maps, much of the neighborhood sits above an old coal mine, and three or four houses have had similar issues. Resident Schreve says many of his neighbors aren't certain if their home is in danger of mine subsidence.
He says, "Many of these mines have unrecorded tunnels and rooms that were not turned into the DNR, so you never really know if you're sitting on one or not."
Chief Byers says he believes one factor to these mines giving may be the heavy rains this area saw in 2011.
In 2005, the ground under a Quail Crossing home began to shift too.
In fact, there was so much damage to the home, the utilities were shut off and the homeowner had to move out. It was determined all to be caused by mine subsidence too.
However, mining in that area had reportedly stopped in the 1930's.
According to the Indiana Geologic Survey, there are up to 150 square miles of underground coal mines in 26 Indiana counties, including Warrick, Vanderburgh, Posey and Gibson.
For more information on DNR Subsidence, just click here.