Expanding Florida sinkhole engulfs two houses, threatens others

An ever-expanding sinkhole in Land O' Lakes, Florida, has swallowed up two houses and is putting other homes in peril, authorities cautioned Friday.

Harry Marcolis | Jul 18, 2017

   

An ever-expanding sinkhole in Land O' Lakes, Florida, has swallowed up two houses and is putting other homes in peril, authorities cautioned Friday.

Officials have ordered the evacuation of nine other houses and electrical power has been cut to some 100 homes in the neighborhood, according to Pasco County's assistant administrator for public safety, Kevin Guthrie, as reported by CNN.

No one can predict when the sinkhole will stop growing, according to Sheriff Chris Nocco, who said, "We can't give a clear answer because this is Mother Nature. We don't know what direction the sinkhole's going to go."

The sinkhole opened up on Friday morning and by the middle of the afternoon was about 250 feet by 225 feet and 50 feet deep, Guthrie said, adding that little can be done until the sinkhole stops growing. He also noted that the homes were constructed on the site of another "remediated" sinkhole.

Emergency crews were called to the first home affected by the sinkhole about 7:30 a.m. after someone noticed a depression forming under a parked boat. The hole opened up within minutes, according to Pasco County Fire Chief Shawn Whited, who spoke at a news conference. An hour later, the house had partly collapsed, a report by WTVM.com said.

Guthrie also raised concerns about possible pollution of a nearby lake from the neighborhood's septic tanks. If the sinkhole keeps expanding, "We will have three if not four septic tanks that will start merging with the lake," he said.

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