A sinkhole in Florida that swallowed two houses appears to have stopped expanding, meaning a recovery-and-repair operation can begin, authorities said.Property
Five homes in Land O Lakes, a residential area about 20 miles north of Tampa, are unsafe for entry, officials said Saturday. Residents of four dwellings were allowed to return.
Its the largest sinkhole in Pasco County in at least three decades.
No injuries were reported. Officials said it will take weeks, perhaps months, for life to fully return to normal for residents in the neighborhood.
The sinkhole, estimated to be 225 feet in diameter and 50 feet deep, apparently began beneath a boat, which fell into the widening depression. The active sinkhole is full of water and not draining because of debris, said Kevin Guthrie, Pasco Countys assistant administrator for public safety. It also looks like its full of household chemicals and septic tank parts.
"Were treating this, in essence, as a hazmat incident," he said.
"It is probably a good thing that this sinkhole has actually been stopped up," he told reporters on Saturday. "There are a lot of contaminants in this water. It will allow us to decontaminate the area ... and clear the debris out."