Sinkhole swallows 2 homes in Florida, third home in danger - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Sinkhole swallows 2 homes in Florida, third home in danger

A sinkhole forced a neighborhood to evacuate Friday, as it opened underneath a home. The hole was initially the size of a small swimming pool, AP reports, but now has started to swallow two large single family homes. (Source: WFLA/CNN) A sinkhole forced a neighborhood to evacuate Friday, as it opened underneath a home. The hole was initially the size of a small swimming pool, AP reports, but now has started to swallow two large single family homes. (Source: WFLA/CNN)

LAND O'LAKES, FL (RNN) - A sinkhole forced a neighborhood to evacuate Friday, as it caused two houses to collapse and continued to grow.

Kevin Guthrie with Pasco County Public Safety said a third home is threatened as the sinkhole expands slowly. Guthrie said 11 homes were voluntarily evacuated, and no one had been injured. 

"At this point in time, we will continue to make and maintain about a 200-foot perimeter off the edge of this particular sinkhole," Guthrie said. "And as it progresses, then we will continue to back that up by about 200 feet."

Sheriff Chris Nocco told the Associated Press that ground within 30 feet of the hole is soft underfoot and felt like it was moving.

"The hole itself appears to now be dormant," said Guthrie. "We do expect if it starts to rain, we probably will have some additional movement." 

Throughout the day, local television stations broadcast from helicopters circling the sinkhole. Raw video shows the hole expand in fits and starts, swallowing boats, furniture, and other household items. 

The hole was initially the size of a small swimming pool, AP reports, but now has affected two large single family homes. Dispatchers received a call around 7:25 a.m. ET that a boat was falling in, WFLA reported.

Firefighters rescued two dogs from the scene. The residents had already left the home to go to work.

A sinkhole had previously been fixed at the location in 2012, AP reports.

Personnel with the Pasco County Fire and Rescue, Duke Energy, Pasco County Emergency Management and the county building inspector are on the scene.

The US Geological Survey says states where the most damage from sinkholes usually happens are Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

In states where sinkholes are common, tests and surveys are available that can determine if one is likely to develop on a home site.

Sinkholes form when ground water circulates through and dissolves certain types of soft rock, usually limestone, salt, gypsum, anhydrite and dolomite. 

As the rocks dissolve, caverns form and eventually, there is not enough strength to support the land above, triggering a sinkhole.

A sudden collapse can vary in size from a few feet to hundreds of acres and can range from 1- to 100-feet deep.

Human activity can also trigger sinkholes, where groundwater pumping, new construction and development and groundwater manipulation occur.

In 2011, a Florida man died while drilling a well after a sinkhole opened up beneath him and his truck.

Copyright 2017 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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