By Lynne Hayes-Freeland

MOUNT OLIVER (KDKA) — Five families have been evacuated from their homes in Mount Oliver where the ground is sinking and shifting, causing significant structural damage to the structures.

Officials in Mount Oliver say an old underground mine is the cause of all the damage on Frederick Street.

But it has forced the families to evacuate with almost no advance notice.

“They basically said get what you can out and that’s what I’ve been doing,” said resident Steven Thomas. “Got my dogs out first, and then worked on the valuables. They said if we come back it’s at our own risk.”

“The chief came and said we have to evacuate the house. They said we have to leave the house because we got to condemn it,” said Theodore Rodgers, another evacuee.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection says they have found 7 more homes that are damaged, but do not need to be evacuated.

Cracks in the foundations, doors that won’t open and close, bulges in the walls are all the structural problems that began developing Wednesday. Right now, no one knows how to stop it.

“It’s crazy,” said resident Jennifer Rump. “We can’t even open our front door. We have to climb through the back to get in and out.”

Utility companies cut off gas and electricity to all of the houses directly involved.

That might eliminate some of the threat, but no one is saying right now how long the houses will remain standing.

“There just aren’t even words to explain it, every feeling in the world I probably feel it right now,” said Thomas.

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