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ALBANY, Ga. -- The city commission in Albany this week gave preliminary approval for plans to replace a fire station that's slowly sinking into the ground.

Fire Station No. 3 was built in the mid-1980s on donated land. Workers discovered a sinkhole beneath the station while preparing the land.

Albany Fire Chief James Carswell says he believes the sinkhole might have been worsened by a severe drought in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Since then, the fire station's walls have continued to separate, cracks grew, and windows have broken out from the building's steady movement.

Carswell said officials think the building is safe, for now, but they plan to continue to assess the situation and abandon the building if necessary. Commissioners recently approved about $900,000 for a replacement firehouse.

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