Houston street fixed after photo of resident standing in hole goes viral

Chaz Miller Image
Thursday, April 13, 2023
Whose hole is it? City points finger after viral photo
Eyewitness News has learned contractor We Excavate Texas caused the Third Ward street hole that Ed Pettitt stood in, creating a viral following.

HOUSTON, Texas -- A large hole in the ground in Houston has been temporarily repaired following a photo that shows a resident standing inside of the gaping hole.

The City of Houston Public Works Department told sister station ABC13 on Wednesday that the hole was not a pothole, rather one created by an unpermitted company called "We Excavate Texas" that was working on houses on a nearby street.

The city said that company is ultimately responsible for properly restoring the pavement to its original condition, but Public Works crews were the ones who secured a steel plate over the hole Wednesday afternoon.

"I went into the hole, and I was up to my waist," Ed Pettitt, the Third Ward resident who posted that photo last weekend, said. "I'm 6 feet."

Pettitt had to ask nearby residents for more information on the substantial damage to the street.

"They said it had been like that for over a week," Pettitt said.

He added that neighbors have given him two examples of cars driving into the hole prior to repairs, both of which required assistance from bystanders.

"I couldn't get out," Ron Emmanuel, who drove into the hole last Thursday, said. "I had to get my neighbor to push me out."

Emmanuel told ABC13 that the incident caused damage underneath his vehicle, and that he had to purchase two new tires for his SUV.

Pettitt said posting the photo is what got the city to respond to the damage.

This past Monday, the contractor filled the hole with dirt, and two days later is when the city fortified those repairs.

As for Pettitt, he's happy the street is at least drivable again but fears it only happened due to his photo and subsequent news coverage.

"It shouldn't have taken this long," he said. "I don't understand how the underlying issues are going to change."

One concern Pettitt had is whether or not the company responsible will be held accountable.

Eyewitness News was told by a Public Works spokesperson that We Excavate Texas will receive a citation for creating the hole in the street, and that the city will work with them to get the asphalt back to its typical condition.

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