Family leaves home after possible sinkhole

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WINTER GARDEN, Fla.- Orange county fire rescue responded to a call about this home on Tiverton Boulevard in Winter Garden. It was a request for help that's unique to say the least.

The homeowner had called to report what they feared was a sinkhole starting to open up right in their living room.
 
Sheila Rivera, who lives next door told FOX 35 "Obviously, it's a very scary ordeal."
 
Orange County Fire Rescue told FOX 35 they got to the home Saturday night and found damage to two walls in the home.
 
City Building Inspector, Skip Nemecek told FOX 35 the homeowner reported floor tiles popping up inside. He said a variety of things may be to blame including a broken pipe or natural settlement, but it's nothing to be afraid of.
He said a possible sinkhole in the area would be a first in recent years.

The homeowners meantime haven't been seen here since the call, and some neighbors are afraid of the problem spreading.
 
Rivera said "The house that we're renting had a crack along the side."
 
Bruno Smyczynski told FOX 35 his daughter lived next door.
 
"Is it going to go toward her house?" He asked. "Is she going to have to evacuate?"
 
FOX 35 was with him as he inspected the place, checking for cracks.
 
FOX 35 asked him "You don't see anything?
Smyczynski replied that he was "Relieved! Not happy, but relieved."

Nemecek told FOX 35 experts will be using ground radar to try to figure out what's really going on under the house.
In the meantime, neighbors were using less sophisticated methods to check their own homes.

Aimee Barrett, who lives nearby said "Just for cracks and looking for some differences in height or floor, but I'm good so far."
 
Another neighbor said "All the floors seem level. I see no cracks in the pavement that we're aware of."
 
Bottom line, Nemecek downplayed any real fears or concerns.

So what do you look for to check and see possible warning signs of a potential sinkhole in your home?

Nemecek offers a few tips:

1) Look for cracks in the walls and floor of your home.
2) Look for a door in your home that doesn't quite close right.
3) Look for a window in your home that is not closing as tight as it should.

To learn more about sinkholes from Florida's Department of Environmental Protection, click here
http://www.dep.state.fl.us/geology/geologictopics/sinkhole.htm

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