US News Officials don't know when Florida sinkhole will stop growing

04:35  15 july  2017
04:35  15 july  2017 Source:   USA TODAY SPORTS

Florida sinkhole swallows home and boat parked outside

  Florida sinkhole swallows home and boat parked outside The hole quickly grew to over 200ft wide.Officials in Pasco County said fire crews were called to the home north of Tampa after someone noticed a depression had formed under a boat parked outside a house.

A growing sinkhole in Florida that has already swallowed two houses is now threatening other residences, authorities said Friday afternoon. Sheriff Chris Nocco said it’s impossible to say when the sinkhole will stop expanding. “We don ’ t know what direction the sinkhole ’s going to go.

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs. Florida sinkhole growing , may swallow house. “We don ’ t know if we’re going to be able to come back. And then, if we aren’t, what are we going to do?” Officials are close to forcing the residents of a

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LAND O' LAKES, Fla. — Two homes were destroyed Friday and another is directly in the path of a rapidly expanding sinkhole about 20 miles north of Tampa.

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– A massive sinkhole continues to grow in Land O' Lakes in Pasco County, taking at least two homes and plenty of property with it. One more home is in danger, and officials say they don ' t know when it will stop getting bigger.

When does a sinkhole stop growing ? An insurance company doesn' t have to cover sinkhole damage, according to state environmental officials . How many sinkholes are there in Florida each year? It's hard to tell. Sinkholes can form in the middle of a farm and may go unreported.

Crews have evacuated 10 additional homes in the area of the 50-foot-deep hole in a suburb dotted with lakes and ponds. Areas around Tampa and much of Florida are known for their porous limestone underground that can collapse abruptly, creating sinkholes.

"It was frightening," said Kevin Guthrie, assistant administrator for public safety in Pasco County. "I guarantee the people who were coming out of these homes were frightened."

Related gallery: Incredible photos of sinkholes around the world


Authorities received a call about what they called a depression the size of a small swimming pool at around 7:20 a.m. ET Friday. By 3:30 p.m., the sinkhole had grown to 250 feet wide with no signs of stopping.

Dramatic video showed the first home being swallowed into the hole Friday morning. A boat was engulfed before that and then about 80% of another home was consumed, Guthrie said.

"It's slowing down from how it was moving earlier, he said. "It was moving at 25 feet per hour this morning. Now it's moving at maybe five to 10 feet per hour. We don't know when it will stop."

County property records show a sinkhole on the property where the first house was located. That had been stabilized in 2014, but county officials said it was not fully repaired.

In this aerial photo, debris is strewn about July 14, 2017, after a sinkhole damaged two homes in Land O' Lakes, Fla. The hole opened up just before 7:30 a.m. ET and expanded to this size by mid-afternoon © Luis Santana, Tampa Bay Times via AP In this aerial photo, debris is strewn about July 14, 2017, after a sinkhole damaged two homes in Land O' Lakes, Fla. The hole opened up just before 7:30 a.m. ET and expanded to this size by mid-afternoon The 2,200-square-foot home was sold in 2015 for $157,000, according to records. Messages left for its owner were not immediately returned Friday. 

Records also show a sinkhole stabilized in 2007 at the partially destroyed home. Two sisters renting that home with four other family members said they had left the house early Friday and returned to see their neighbor’s home falling into the sinkhole.

The only way to ensure a sinkhole won't return is to consult a structural engineer, bore holes into the ground and inject concrete, a fix that could cost as much or more than the house itself, according to Crosstown Engineering of Tampa.

Sinkhole insurance can cost more than double the usual homeowner's insurance in counties where it's needed most.

In February 2013, a sinkhole that opened up late at night in Seffner, Fla., about 15 miles east of Tampa, swallowed Jeff Bush, 37, in his bed. His brother nearly died, too, but sheriff's deputies were able to rescue him.

Bush's body neverwas found, and the sinkhole reopened in the same spot two years later.

No injuries have been reported in connection with Friday's sinkhole.

Edilia and Theresa Villa and their relatives had time to retrieve important documents and six dogs from their house before officials declared it unsafe, the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times reported. Firefighters rescued two other dogs and some belongings from the first home because the people who lived there already had left for work.

"Our hearts and thoughts go out to everyone in this community," Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said. "This is Mother Nature, and we don't know where it's going to go."

Florida is one of seven states — also including Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Pennsylvania — where sinkholes are most likely to occur, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Contributing: The Associated Press.

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