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1 rescued after sinkhole swallows 2 cars in Studio City

Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News Two cars rest at the bottom of a sinkhole that opened up on Woodbridge Street near Laurel Canyon Boulevard in Studio City on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017.

STUDIO CITY >> Two vehicles fell into a 20-foot sinkhole in Studio City today and firefighters had to rescue one woman who escaped her car but was found standing on her overturned vehicle.

Firefighters arrived shortly after 8:15 p.m. at 4245 N. Laurel Canyon Blvd., two blocks south of Moorpark Street, to find one car upside-down in a large dark sinkhole full of rushing water, said Erik Scott of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The single occupant was standing on the car, approximately 10 feet below street level, Scott said.

“Firefighters jumped into action and rapidly lowered a (20-foot) extension ladder down to the (48-year-old woman) allowing her to climb out, and transported her to a local hospital in fair condition,” Scott said.

While being transported, the woman told firefighters that while she was driving, she felt the car pitch to the left, then it tumbled into the sinkhole and the airbags deployed. Water started coming into the vehicle and she tried to raise the windows, which didn’t work, Scott said.

The woman said she was able to open the door and climb on top of the car and started screaming for help, according to Scott.

“She said she thought she was going to die,” Scott said. “Then she heard the firefighters yell back to her.”

The driver of the second vehicle that fell into the sinkhole was able to get out of the car unharmed, Scott said.

“The pavement continued to give way and the second vehicle fell in the sinkhole,” Scott said.

The vehicles are expected to be removed in the daylight of Saturday, according to Scott.

Alicia, who declined to give her last name, lives in the neighborhood. “I was on my way home from the store,” she said. ”I arrived just as the firemen removed the woman. It was very dramatic. It was pretty scary.”

Joseph Guidi, whose house is 30 feet from the hole, was understandably apprehensive. “I am concerned because this hole is getting bigger and bigger,” he said.

The sinkhole was caused by water running under the street, fire officials told reporters at the scene.

The operation is being handed over to city sanitation crews because it’s all subterranean. Crane operators were enroute to extract the vehicles, and cameras will be used to survey sewage pipes within the hole.

Correspondent Xavier Higgs contributed to this report.

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