A sinkhole opened up in the parking lot of the Asheville AAA office on Merrimon Avenue
© Bill Sanders
A sinkhole opened up in the parking lot of the Asheville AAA office on Merrimon Avenue
A monster sinkhole in a Merrimon Avenue parking lot continues to expand at an alarming rate.

As of early afternoon on June 24, it's a yawning 27 feet in diameter. When Asheville firefighters responded to the scene on the morning of the sinkhole's appearance, they estimated it was about 20 feet deep. Now, those who dare to approach the edge figure it's twice as deep.

The property owner — and neighbors on Merrimon Avenue — find themselves scratching their heads. What's the emergency protocol when the ground gives up?


Who you gonna call (about a sinkhole)?

When Iván Nazario Zapata, general manager of the Early Girl Eatery next door, realized the pit threatened to gobble up a delivery van, he didn't know who to reach out to.

He guessed the Asheville Fire Department. (They have ladders, right?) He guessed wrong.

The fire department can only intervene if there's a clear and present danger, according to AFD spokeswoman Kelley Klope. "If a car were to go into it or something, we would respond to an emergency or an immediate life threat," Klope said in an email to the Citizen Times.

(Read more here)