Sinkhole swallows 2 houses, 1 boat in Florida
Debris is strewn about from a partially collapsed home in Land O' Lakes, Florida.
Miami - Dramatic video showed the home in Land O' Lakes, north of Tampa in Pasco County, collapsing into the hole on Friday morning.
A sinkhole that started out the size of a small swimming pool and continued to grow in Florida swallowed a boat, destroyed two homes and prompted officials to evacuate residents from about a dozen homes on Friday.
Dramatic video showed the home in Land O' Lakes, north of Tampa in Pasco County, collapsing into the hole on Friday morning. It quickly engulfed one home and a boat and then consumed about 80 per cent of another home, said Kevin Guthrie, Pasco County's assistant county administrator for public safety.
By Friday afternoon, the hole stretched up to 76 metres wide and 15 metres deep, and threatened to damage a third home, Guthrie said. Pasco County Fire Chief Shawn Whited told reporters that 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. 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," Deputy Jay Murphy said. No injuries have been reported. Sheriff Chris Nocco said that within roughly 9 metres of the sinkhole, the ground was soft underfoot and felt like it was moving.
The sinkhole had been dormant for about 90 minutes on Friday night when Nocco addressed members of the media, but officials were cautious because it's the rainy season. A fence was being erected around the sinkhole. The scene is being considered a hazardous materials incident because of possible septic tank issues and building debris.
Eleven homes were evacuated, including the two destroyed.