Heavy rain causes sinking cemetery graves in Wilmington

When you walk through the Wilmington Cemetery as I did with Rachel Romero, you see headstone after headstone sinking, separating from the uneven ground. A couple even look like sinkholes.

One particularly damaged one has been coned off, presumably to keep any mourners from falling in, but no cones anywhere else.

The problem is the rain. That's what a posted sign says when you walk into the cemetery. Romero says the sign was posted only after she complained. Romero, who lives close by, visits her dad regularly.

After visiting the grave Wednesday, the three year anniversary of her dad's death, "I found his headstone was partially sunken down into the ground."

That upset her. Romero was close to her dad. She tells her parents' love story by saying her father was 18 when he married her mom who was 16. She's still alive. When he died, they had been married 68 years.

She reached out to a cemetery worker who said, "She was coming out to check the grounds. She said she wanted to see what was going on."

As of our conversation, though, she had not received a call or information from anyone connected to Wilmington Cemetery.

Seeing her dad's grave in that condition was unsettling.

"It was very alarming, you know, considering you lay him there not imagining anything like this would ever happen," Romero said. "You hear about it at other places, but you never believe it's going to happen here."

When asked what do you want to see one, she said, "I would like to have it fixed. I would just want to see it put back the way it's supposed to be and maintained properly."

FOX 11 got a lot of local government reaction when we contacted officials representing the area. The cemetery is under the control of the Wilmington Cemetery District Board, which is a Los Angeles County board.

LA Co. Supervisor Janice Hahn told us, "This is a terrible situation and if we get more rain it can become worse. This cemetery has struggled for a while with half the resources needed to keep up with maintenance. I will be looking into ways to correct this situation so that those buried here are treated with respect and dignity."

Councilman Joe Buscaino's office told us, "With the significant increase in rains this winter, we encourage residents to report issues to 311 if you live in the City of LA or contact your local council officer. We are here to serve our residents."

Meanwhile, Wilmington resident Rachel Romero hopes her dad's cemetery plot gets repaired soon.

UPDATE: Wilmington Cemetery has been temporarily closed for repairs and safety after our report aired on Friday night.

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