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Holy Shit, A Giant Sinkhole Just Ate A Part Of Downtown Ottawa

The sinkhole is on the busiest stretch of Ottawa's Rideau Street.

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A big sinkhole has eaten up the busiest part of a downtown street in Ottawa.

Footage of a large chunk of road collapsing into the sinkhole. Hole continues to get bigger. #ottnews

The Rideau Street sinkhole appeared on Wednesday in an area that's been under heavy construction. The city is building an underground light-rail system station in the area, while the Rideau Centre — the shopping centre right next to the sinkhole — has been under large renovations.

top-down photo of sinkhole shortly after it appeared. #ottawasinkhole #ottnews

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The sinkhole has grown since it first appeared, stretching all the way across the downtown artery. It's about a three-minute walk from Parliament Hill.

This sinkhole at Rideau and Sussex spans the entire width of the street. Air reeks of natural gas. #ottnews

Some reported seeing smoke coming from the hole, and others have posted video of the sinkhole quickly filling with water.

Not looking good on Rideau/Sussex. Avoid the area completely. Hope everyone is ok.

It has even claimed its first victim — a minivan.

Guys I just saw a car get sucked into the sinkhole #ottawasinkhole #sinkhole #ottawa

Nearby buildings have been evacuated and the city is urging people to avoid the area.

Evacuated the Westin...sinkhole and the smell of gas is strong in the air - everyone be cautious #ottawa

The power is also out in the downtown core.

High-angle shot of Rideau sinkhole from cameraman Jean Delisle. https://t.co/VSynaHCHqn

The sinkhole even has its own Twitter presence.

Where's everybody going?! #ottnews #rideausinkhole

UPDATE

City officials held a press conference in the early afternoon, saying the site has been secured, but that they're unsure what caused the sinkhole. They said there are no reported injuries. Mayor Jim Watson said he's unsure when Rideau Street will re-open.

This isn't the first — or even second — time Ottawa has dealt with sinkholes. In 2014, a sinkhole appeared on nearby Waller Street, where crews were also working on the underground light-rail system.

Two years earlier, a sinkhole swallowed a car on a highway leading out of the city.

Emma Loop is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. PGP fingerprint: 4A39 DD99 953C 6CAF D68C 85CD C380 AB23 859B 0611.

Contact Emma Loop at emma.loop@buzzfeed.com.

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