Land O’ Lakes, Fla. (NBCNC) – Residents experienced terrifying moments in Land O’ Lakes, Florida–just north of Tampa–as a sinkhole swallowed one home and most of another.
Thalia Chapman’s home was partially destroyed. “I was so scared. We came outside and it was collapsing.”
Chapman shot video of her neighbor’s home as it started to go down. No one was inside, but firefighters did rescue two dogs before the home fell.
Officials said the sinkhole is at least 200 feet across but continues to expand, eating away at a nearby roadway.
Kevin Guthrie serves as Pasco County’s assistant county administrator for public safety. He said, “It’s about 50 feet deep at this point. it is continuing to grow in the direction of this lake and in this direction here.”
Residents of nine neighboring homes have voluntarily evacuated because inspectors say their
dwellings aren’t safe.
Even homeowners just outside the immediate perimeter are being told to be ready to flee.
“As we’re walking around out there, you can feel that ground,” said Pasco County Sherriff Chris Nocco. “It’s soft and you can almost feel the ground moving underneath your feet.”
This same location was the scene of another sinkhole five years ago.
Around Florida, they’re fairly common–often caused when the state’s unique limestone bedrock gets eroded by rainwater.
This latest sinkhole has officials doing what they can. “We’re trying to conserve property, but Mother Nature is going to take what Mother Nature will take,” Guthrie said.
For now, the hole is leaving residents of this Florida neighborhood on edge.
Authorities say their efforts are limited until the hole stops growing. Once it does, crews could up the scene up to a month repairing the area.