Sinkhole swallows homes in Florida, forces evacuation

Sinkhole forms under home, forces evacuation
Posted at 12:00 PM, Jul 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-14 08:10:48-04

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

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, WFLA said.

About eight to 10 houses were forced to evacuate. 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.

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