Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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July 2, 2014

Crews work to repair drain line mistaken for sinkhole in Tazewell

TAZEWELL, Va. — Tazewell town employees were busy Tuesday digging up an old drainpipe after a section of it collapsed earlier this week and formed a large hole in the pavement near the Tazewell County Courthouse.

“We dug it up this morning,” said Town Manager Todd Day. “What we found was a drain line.”

Initially reported as a sinkhole, the space beneath the ground was formed by an old 12-inch corrugated storm drain that ran from Main Street.

“It was just rusted out real bad, and water was going to its weakest point,” Day said.

The town was digging up and replacing the pipe.

“It’s not bad. We’re up here repairing it right now,” Day said Tuesday afternoon. “We’re going to completely abandon the line to keep it from happening again in the future.”

The hole appeared between the courthouse and a Main Street building that burned on New Year’s Eve 2013. The structure, which housed GuRu’s Then & Now, Becker’s Jewel Box & Diamond, and three apartments, was severely damaged . No injuries were reported.

An investigation by the Town of Tazewell Police Department with help from the Virginia State Police determined the fire was started by an electrical problem.

The building’s owners have decided to demolish the building, Day said Tuesday.

“They will be razing that building,” he said. “They’re just waiting for various reports to come back to get approval to proceed.”

Day stated he hoped the demolition could begin before fall. Main Street is currently open, but the sidewalk in front of the burned building is still closed.

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