MAHANOY TOWNSHIP -- More holes have opened up after a big hole nearly swallowed a home in Schuylkill County last year.
Officials with the Department of Environmental Protection say if a home is built on top of an abandoned coal mine, and one hole caves in, more holes are likely to follow. Mine crews found this to be true for the property in Mahanoy Township as more holes are continuing to cave in.
It has been two months since a giant hole opened in the backyard of the Quick family's home in Mahanoy Township. The family is back living in the home now, but in the last few weeks, three more subsidences have caved in within feet of the first hole.
"Fortunately they weren't as large or did as much damage. They spotted them pretty quickly and they were able to fill them in. Once you see one subsidence on the property, it's always on your radar that there could be more," said Colleen Connolly of the Department of Environmental Protection.
The Quicks' home is not in harm's way of these newly caved-in holes. However, a chicken coop on the property has been impacted.
"It was on the edge of this subsidence. Fortunately, they attached it and hooked it and were able to pull it out before it fell into the hole and no chickens were lost, so fortunately, they were able to stop that from occurring," Connolly explained.
Where there is one hole, more are likely to be found, so the DEP is still working to make sure the home and surrounding property are not in any more danger.
"We're drilling some holes to determine if there's any voids around the house, voids meaning holes underneath the ground where more mine subsidence could occur if we don't take care of that hole," Connolly said.
There are more than a million homes in Pennsylvania that sit on top of abandoned coal mines, and although there is not really any way to prevent a hole from caving in, there is one thing you can do before it happens.
"Pennsylvania is one of the few states that offers mine subsidence insurance, and we encourage homeowners to take advantage of it," Connolly said. "Whether it's an old home, a new home, or a home you're about to build, do your research. If you're on top of an old coal mine, please get mine subsidence insurance," she continued.
After investigating, officials with the DEP say any nearby underground blasting was not the cause of these subsidences. There were come concerns by the family that could be to blame.