Florida sinkhole swallows boat, two houses; others at risk


Posted on: July 14th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(LAND O’ LAKES, Fla.) — A massive sinkhole that appeared in Land O’Lakes, Florida, has destroyed two homes and is threatening nine more, according to police on Friday.

The sinkhole is now being treated as a hazmat incident due to septic tank damage, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said in a press conference Friday afternoon.

Both of the homes that were destroyed were plagued by sinkholes in the past, police said. In 2016, 33 underpinnings were placed at one of the homes, costing $30,000. The home was also investigated and remediated in July 2012.

Remediation was also done on the second home in February 2012.

This morning, authorities asked multiple families to evacuate their homes after the sinkhole opened up.

Emergency workers approached each home in the area to personally evacuate every structure. There were no injuries reported as of early Friday morning.

Pasco County Fire Rescue rescued two dogs from one home, police said.

During an earlier press conference on Friday, officials said the sinkhole, which is still growing, had swallowed a swimming pool, in addition to the homes and the boat. The hole is currently filled with water and debris, and officials warned that it could be a month before the issue is resolved.

“It’s an active sinkhole, so we don’t know how big it’s going to get yet,” a Pasco County battalion chief on the scene told reporters Friday. “We’re just evacuating other homes and making sure everybody is safe.”

The sinkhole, which authorities said is currently 225 feet wide and about 50 feet deep, also resulted in a loss of power for about 100 other homes in the area after the local energy provider cut power for some residents as a safety precaution.

“We’re getting a plan together right now to find out how many homes we need to evacuate,” the battalion chief on the scene said, adding that geological inspectors were heading to the area to “give us a definitive number on how big we need to evacuate.”

Officials suspended boating at a nearby lake and asked those living between the sinkhole and the lake to evacuate because “the entire ground can collapse at any second.”

Authorities first received a call about the hole at 7:21 a.m. ET when a resident reported that an open depression under a boat, which authorities found completely swallowed less than 10 minutes later, officials said.

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