Florida Sinkhole Swallows House, Threatens To Grow Larger

A Florida sinkhole has swallowed an entire home and forced six others to be evacuated — and it’s still growing.

The sinkhole opened up in a neighborhood near downtown Dunedin, which is outside of Tampa. The sinkhole was estimated at 80 feet wide by 40 feet deep, and Dunedin Deputy Fire Chief Tripp Barrs told WFTS-TV in Tampa that it’s getting even bigger.

The Florida sinkhole is now threatening six surrounding homes, and one neighborhood pool has already begun cracking.

As a safety precaution, officials cut power and utility lines before they evacuated the other homes.

There have been a number of sinkholes opening in Florida in the past few months. One in Seffner, a town close to Dunedin, opened up beneath the bedroom of 37-year-old Jeff Bush, who was believed to have been killed. His body was never recovered.

Officials refer to the area near Hernando, Hillsborougo, and Pasco counties as “sinkhole alley.”

Another sinkhole is believed to be underneath the $60 million mansion that golfer Tiger Woods built in Jupiter, Florida.

Florida is a prime spot for sinkholes, due to the state’s extensive bedrock of limestone. Water stored above the bedrock can break down the carbonate rocks, leaving a void that allows heavier dirt in the layer above to collapse.

Sinkholes can be triggered by heavy rain or when humans drill wells or pump groundwater for farming.

Overhead video of the Florida sinkhole that opened on Thursday showed the back porch of a home and a boat collapsed into a deep hole. Michael Dupre, a neighbor, said he heard something that sounded like a “sledgehammer pounding on a wall” when the sinkhole began to open.

He said there had just been a sinkhole company on his property in the past few days to evaluate cracks in the ground.

“There was a sinkhole before and we knew there was sinkhole activity,” Dupre said. “After the Seffner sinkhole, we were scared. We’ve been dealing with our insurance company and, finally, two days ago, they started working on our house. Now it looks like our home is gone.”

There were no injuries reported from the Florida sinkhole.