Open manholes cause safety concerns

Posted at 11:49 PM, Apr 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-15 03:51:20-04

On Wednesday, a man was concerned for the safety of his grandkids after finding a manhole uncovered.

For an area that sees a fair amount of foot traffic and kids playing, Bill Berry couldn't believe his eyes while on a walk with his granddaughter Tuesday night.

“She was coming out of the new development ahead of me and I noticed she was leaning over and she turned to me and said 'Grandpa, what is this?'” said Berry.

Berry said they returned home and called police immediately, but they advised him this was not a crime and to call code compliance.

So he did. When he didn't hear back, he called the fire department.

“They came out and took a look at it and agreed with me that this is an imminent threat to children, it's a miracle that no child had fallen in before,” said Berry.

But Wednesday when Berry went to see the hole, he realized it was no longer uncovered.

“As you can see, someone drug a rock over here and covered the hole,” said Berry.

30 minutes later, the hole had been covered with a metal plate and the rock as a weight, work done by the City of Bakersfield.

Just a short distance away, three more manholes lay uncovered on Wednesday without even a rock, leaving some parents like Rafael Perez worried about his children.

“I'm the parent, yeah my son shouldn't be playing there or daughter, but they're kids. They're going to do it irregardless. That's deadly. The city needs to do something about it ASAP,” said Perez.

On Thursday, the City of Bakersfield had their code compliance unit put temporary covers on all four manholes. The property is owned by CNC Land and Development and was purchased as a housing development before the housing crisis.

Their representative says that he'll be in Bakersfield on Friday to see if they can be permanently covered that day. If not, he'll be ordering the parts to do so.