Homes swallowed by huge sinkhole in Florida
Officials said on Saturday that a huge sinkhole that swallowed a boat and destroyed two homes in Florida had stopped growing and had not had any recent significant movement.
Pasco County assistant administrator for public safety Kevin Guthrie said the sinkhole was the largest in the county in three decades. The sinkhole is 250ft wide and 50ft deep.
Guthrie said 11 homes had been affected, including the two that were destroyed. A third home lost about 45ft of driveway and a septic tank.
On Friday, Pasco County fire chief Shawn Whited told reporters no one was home when crews responded to a call about a “depression” under a boat in the backyard of a house in Lake Padgett Estates in Land O’Lakes. Within minutes, he said, “the hole opened up” and the boat fell in.
Firefighters were able to get two dogs out of the home and retrieve some belongings before the first home started collapsing into the quickly expanding hole.
“This is people’s lives,” said fire deputy Jay Murphy. “They have everything in that house. The house that I went into, the elderly woman was in a walker, so we wanted to make sure we got medications things that she needed.”
No injuries were reported. Sheriff Chris Nocco said that within roughly 30ft of the sinkhole, the ground was soft underfoot and felt like it was moving. “Walking down the street, you can see in people’s eyes the anxiety level,” Nocco said. “They’re fearful.”
State geologists said they would continue to monitor the sinkhole over the weekend before determining when clean-up can begin. The scene was being considered a hazardous materials incident, because of possible septic tank issues and building debris.
“We’re all wondering what’s going to happen next,” said Nocco. “We can’t control this. This is mother nature.”
County property records showed there was a sinkhole at the property where the first house was swallowed up, and that it had been stabilized in 2014. The home was sold in 2015, according to records. Messages left for its owner were not immediately returned.
Records also showed that a sinkhole was stabilized at the partially destroyed home in 2007. Two sisters renting that home with four other family members said they had left the house early on Friday and returned to see their neighbor’s home falling into the sinkhole.