FRASER (WWJ) – Schoolkids in Fraser are coming together to help classmates who were forced to leave their homes after a sewer collapse created a sinkhole on Christmas Eve.
Students returned to class on Wednesday for the first time since the sinkhole opened, including children from six families who were evacuated from their homes, located near 15 Mile and Hayes roads. Despite their current situations, the families have maintained “phenomenal attitudes,” said Fraser School District Superintendent, Dr. David Richards.
“What we’re trying to do right now is support them in any way that we can,” Richards told WWJ’s Roberta Jasina. And thanks to one student, Richards thinks they have a winning idea.
“One neighbor who is a classmate of one of the kids, they’re starting a pop can drive where they’re collecting cans and so we’re working with them to gather some cans to help offset some of the costs for a couple of the families that have been out of their homes and will more than likely lose their homes,” Richards said. “The school district is helping out with that and setting up a drop-off location here within the district to provide those funds.”
Richards said community members are encouraged to drop off any returnable bottles at the district’s operations and maintenance building, 33499 Klein Road, located on the backside of Richard’s Middle School.
“The kids have done a great job with it. They’ve already, just within their little neighborhood, have collected $400 or $500 worth of cans already,” he said. “So, we’re going to do that for the next three or four weeks to try and provide some funding.”
Meantime, officials are still working on plans to return the 22 families to their homes. Authorities say it could take up to 10 months until the sinkhole is completely repaired.
“As a community, Fraser does an amazing job in rallying around in situations like this and we’re all extremely grateful of the support that’s been given thus far,” said Richards. “As we go through this, if it truly takes until October to get this remedied, I know that we’ll figure out how to adjust and stay positive going forward.”
On Tuesday, two more homes were condemned as crews continue to pump water and raw sewage out of the area to stabilize the ground — bringing the total of condemned homes to five. Work is underway to provide a new entry around the street affected by the sinkhole so families will be able to reach their homes by early next week.
Officials say the sinkhole is 250 feet long and 100 feet wide — larger than one in 2004 that caused a nearby section of roadway to cave in. Engineers, however, are concerned the collapse could widen, which could delay repairs even longer.