Abandoned mines threaten more homes in Hideaway Hills
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Last April, a sinkhole formed in Hideaway Hills revealing an abandoned gypsum mine.
While the full extent of the surface and subsurface mine is unknown, the discovery of railroad tracks and carts suggests it’s substantially bigger than first presumed.
“We have discovered two mines, not one mine,” said attorney Kathy Barrow. “So, we are even more concerned about the danger to the residents in the subdivision.”
The dangers of the abandoned mines left the homes in the area worthless and forced some families to evacuate their houses.
Another collapse could be sudden and lead to several problems.
“There could be gas explosions from those collapses. Kids running and falling in a sinkhole, even in this yard right here from last April, there are already other sinkholes forming,” said geological consultant Nick Anderson.
The land that Hideaway Hills sits on was intended to be used for pasture and not a housing development.
The gypsum itself creates a greater threat when exposed to air.
“The gypsum now that it’s exposed to the surface continuously erodes away as it’s exposed to water and air. So, it’s a constantly changing situation,” said Anderson.
“Things are very dangerous out in Hideaway Hills. We have people on land that is shifting. We actually had a client today; her window frames have opened up around her windows and she has a horizontal crack going across her basement,” said Barrow.
Paula Running Shield moved into the development in 2018 and first noticed these cracks in her walls only a couple of weeks ago.
When she first heard of the sinkhole, she hoped she would not be affected, but now she’s concerned for her family.
“It would be good to get the answers with the testing and know if we are able to stay here or what the future looks like for our children. Especially with the school if we need to move them,” expressed Running Shield.
A class-action lawsuit against the state of South Dakota has been filed and is currently pending.
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