Firefighters monitoring Pasco County sinkhole; homes evacuated
LAND O' LAKES, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Caught on camera: a family's Pasco County home collapsing as it gets swallowed by a sinkhole.
Thalia Chapman was just getting home from breakfast a little after 7 a.m. on Friday morning, when she heard and saw it all.
“We heard a cracking from the neighbor’s house next door, like a hard tree falling like a big tree falling,” said Chapman.
She ran to the neighbor’s house as their backyard started giving way and knocked on the door. No one was home. So she ran to her house.
“We got my mom and the dogs out and it started building up more and more,” said Chapman.
Police arrived just in time to help get two dogs out of the neighbors home. Within minutes, that entire house got sucked into the watery sinkhole.
“The sinkhole was getting bigger fast, like seconds fast,” said Chapman. As the hole got bigger and bigger, it got her house too.
“I was shocked and unbelievable. I'd never seen a sinkhole before. The only thing left is the garage and part of the back. My room is gone, my cousin's room is gone, bathroom,” said Chapman.
County records show that a 50-foot sinkhole opened up on this same site in July 2012. Thirty-three underpins were constructed under the home to help shore it up. That fix cost $30,000.
Pasco County's Assistant County Administrator for Public Safety, Kevin Guthrie, says with two houses, two boats and part of the road gone, this natural disaster could just keep growing in size and cost. The two homes had been swallowed by the sinkhole, plus nine others have been evacuated.
“It's still continuing to fall in 18 to 24 inches at a time. I can't put a time line on it. Nobody's going home for the next 24-72 hours,” said Guthrie.
Emergency crews will be monitoring the sinkhole around the clock, keeping an eye on any changes ready to take action if need be.