Sinkhole in Florida Swallows 2 Houses, Threatens Other Residences

In the photo, a house as it starts falling into a sinkhole in Land O’ Lakes, Florida.

A growing sinkhole in Florida that has already swallowed two houses is now threatening other residences, authorities said Friday afternoon.

Nine other houses have been evacuated in Land O’ Lakes, a residential area about 20 miles north of Tampa, Kevin Guthrie, Pasco County’s assistant administrator for public safety, said at a news conference. Power has been cut to around 100 houses in the neighborhood.

Sheriff Chris Nocco said it’s impossible to say when the sinkhole will stop expanding.

“We can’t give a clear answer because this is Mother Nature,” he said. “We don’t know what direction the sinkhole’s going to go. We don’t know if it will make another sharp direction.”

The sheriff’s department was called Friday morning about a depression the size of a small pool that a boat was falling into. The depression quickly turned into a sinkhole and two houses slid into it, Guthrie said.

Video showed the houses breaking apart and falling into water as the sinkhole opened up beneath them.

By mid-afternoon, the sinkhole was about 250 by 225 feet and 50 feet deep, he said. He estimated the sinkhole grew by 25 feet to 30 feet per hour in the morning but had slowed by afternoon to 10 feet per hour. The ground around the houses felt soft and unsteady to the foot, he said.

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SOURCE: CNN, Ralph Ellis