A Gaping Sinkhole in Florida Is Swallowing Everything in Its Path
It's already gobbled up two homes, a boat and a hot tub.
Luis Santana/Tampa Bay Times via AP
A massive sinkhole in Florida that gulped down two houses on Friday won't stop growing—forcing ten households to evacuate as it closes in on their property like some bloodthirsty villain from a B-movie, International Business Times reports.
The bubbling death trap escalated from a small dent in the earth in one Land O' Lakes resident's backyard to a 235-foot-wide, 50-foot-deep monstrosity. It's already eaten up two homes, a boat, and a hot tub, and it's only getting wider—prompting local law enforcement in the Florida town to warn a few nearby residents that they may need to evacuate at a moment's notice.
"This is not a time for panic," local public safety administrator Kevin Guthrie told IBTimes. "When we say, 'Now is the time to leave,' it's time to leave. It's not time to pack things up."
According to CNN, not only has the sinkhole caused an immense amount of damage, but it's also churning up a mix of potentially harmful chemicals.
"We're treating this, in essence, as a hazmat incident," Guthrie said.
Sinkholes are no joke. A particularly brutal one swallowed up a Florida man back in 2013, and another on Long Island killed a New Yorker just this year. One even opened up in front of President Trump's "Winter Whitehouse" in Palm Beach. They're a particularly big problem in the Sunshine State, where much of the terrain underground is composed of limestone and dolomite, liable to dissolve when they're exposed to too much rainwater, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
As water filters through the porous rock, it tends to decompose and drift away, leaving "extensive underground voids" in its wake—peppering the state with swaths of land that could open up at any moment. The sinking ground can also mess with the community's water supply, though so far, none of the 20 underground wells in Land O' Lakes showed evidence of E. coli, New York Daily News reports.
That's enough to make resident Patty Cumanas, who lives near the sinkhole, a little nervous—but with an environmental problem that spans the state, she said she doesn't feel like she has too many options.
"I'm apprehensive, a little nervous," the 57-year-old told ABC News. "Where are you going to go? There are sinkholes all over Florida. Unless something happens that the sinkhole takes my house, I don't plan on going anywhere anytime soon."
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