- Associated Press - Sunday, November 8, 2015

MERIDIAN, Miss. (AP) - A Saturday night cave-in of a Meridian restaurant’s parking lot that swallowed 12 cars was not the result of a sinkhole, a city official said Sunday.

Meridian Public Safety Director Buck Roberts tells The Meridian Star (http://bit.ly/1kDvuui ) the collapse was not a sinkhole, which is caused when an underground water aquifer dries up, leaving a void resulting in a failure of the soil above.

“You can call it what you want, a cave-in or whatever, but it is not a sinkhole,” Roberts said.

Roberts said engineers and contractors would be on scene Monday to try to determine the cause of the collapse.

Emergency crews were called to the IHOP restaurant on North Frontage Road at about 7:15 p.m. and discovered a section of the parking lot, about 35 feet wide and 400 feet long, had collapsed. Cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles dropped into the void that appeared to be about 15 feet deep.

No injuries were reported.

Gwendolyn Fikes told the newspaper (http://bit.ly/1NkTGZn ) her daughter’s Honda Accord was one of the vehicles that fell into to the chasm. Fikes said she and her daughter had stopped by the restaurant to eat last night.

“We’d been in there about three minutes,” Fikes said. “Then everything went black and we heard a boom.”

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Information from: The Meridian Star, http://www.meridianstar.com

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