‘For the most part, they lost everything,’ said Pasco County Rescue Fire Chief Shawn Whited. ‘This is something we’ve never seen before,’ he said.
“We got as much as we could as quickly as we could before it got too dangerous to be up there, but for the most part, they’ve lost everything.”
Crews were called to the home north of Tampa at about 7:30 a.m. after someone noticed a depression had formed under a boat parked outside a home.
The hole spread within a matter of minutes which caught many residents off guard. The 200 feet wide sinkhole is very deep.
Power has also been shut off to about 100 homes as a precaution.
Authorities notified other people living in the area that the sinkhole is active and they could be forced to evacuate at any time.
The Red Cross will be assisting the evacuated residents.
The Tampa Bay Times reports sisters Edilia and Theresa Villa were renting the home next door. The entire family was out early Friday morning and by the time they returned home the neighboring home had already begun to fall into the sinkhole.
They were able to grab some important documents and their six dogs from their own home before officials reckoned it unsafe.
WFLA News Channel 8 says the home was also sold in 2015 as a ‘repaired’ home which means a sinkhole may well have likely affected the home in past.
Crews secured the foundation with steel pins that are now visible from the road in 2014 at a cost of over $30,000, but clearly the job was not up to standard.
Two state geologists are expected to arrive and further evaluate the scene this afternoon, but full repairs could take weeks or months.
Roads in the area have been closed and the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office has set up checkpoints, allowing only residents in with proof of address at Cloverleaf and Pine, Grove and Pine, Lake Padgett Drive and Ocean Pines Drive.