‘It was frightening’: Sinkhole swallows two homes in Florida
Residents are evacuated to escape the rapidly expanding sinkhole that has grown 15m deep
In this aerial photo, debris is strewn about after a sinkhole damaged two homes in Land O’ Lakes, Florida. Photograph: Luis Santana/Tampa Bay Times via AP
A sinkhole that continues to grow in the US has now swallowed a boat, destroyed two homes and prompted the evacuation of residents from 10 others.
Having started the size of a swimming pool, it quickly grew to 200ft (60m) wide and 50ft (15m) deep.
Pasco County Fire Chief Shawn Whited said no one was at the home when crews arrived just after 7.30am.
Someone had called about a “depression” under a boat parked in the backyard of a home 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 rescue two dogs and retrieve some belongings before the first home started collapsing into the quickly-expanding hole.
By early afternoon, the home next door was also destroyed by the sinkhole.
No injuries have been reported.
County property records show there had already been a sinkhole at the property where the first house was swallowed, and that it had been “stabilised” in 2012.
The home last sold in 2015, according to records.
Sinkholes are stabilised by boring holes into the ground and injecting concrete
Kevin Guthrie, Pasco County’s assistant county administrator for public safety, said 10 other homes in the area have been tagged unsafe and the residents voluntarily left them.
He said firefighters and deputies helped people get some of their belongings out of their homes.
“It was frightening,” Mr Guthrie said. “The people coming out of those houses were frightened. Mother Nature is going to take what Mother Nature takes.”
Officials say Duke Energy cut power to about 100 homes in the neighbourhood.
The American Red Cross is assisting residents who have been displaced.