Dunedin Sinkhole: Dupre family speaks about frightening ordeal

7:38 PM, Nov 14, 2013   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: Sinkhole opens up near Dunedin home


Dunedin, FL -- The Dupre family had been living over a sinkhole for more than two years now and they knew it.

But they'd been doing battle with Citizen's Insurance over how to mitigate the problem. Repairs started just two days ago.

For a while, Michael and Jannie Dupre didn't let their daughter Ivy sleep in her room. They were worried the same thing might happen to her that happened to Jeff Bush earlier this year in Seffner.

But Ivy was in her room and in her bed Wednesday night when something awakened her. At first, she says, she thought it was the wind or someone breaking into their house.

"I didn't think a sinkhole would sound like that. I thought it was more like cracking, but it sounded like banging," said the 13-year-old, still wearing the firefighter's coat she'd been given to stay warm.

Ivy's father grabbed his rifle and looked outside, and soon realized it was no prowler.

"No, this is a crater," he said.

A massive crater at that. The sinkhole swallowed part of their home, their boat,  the neighbor's pool and almost got Michael's pick-up truck, but rescue officials let him save it.

GRAPHIC: Florida's Sinkholes (PDF)

"It's like, you know, one of the theme parks. Like a disaster theme ride. It's ridiculous," said Michael.

It was even more ridiculous, say the Dupres, because of the timing.

The Dupres were well aware of a sinkholes on their property, centered right under young Ivy's bedroom.

"At one point we didn't want her to sleep in her room anymore, because that's where they said the biggest one is," said Ivy's mother Jannie.

For two years the family battled Citizens Insurance, asking the hole under their home be fixed with underpins.

But Citizens, they say, insisted on pumping grout. The cement trucks showed up just two days ago, and now this happened.

"Citizens says we have to fix it this way, it should be the right way," said Jannie, "but now it looks like yeah... it's not the right way."

Jannie Dupre says she was able to grab some of the family treasures like photo albums and a few belongings that have sentimental value.

She says when she saw the small pile sitting on their front lawn, she laughed to herself, realizing how little you really need when you escape with your life.

The family was also able to save their dog.

The Red Cross was on scene to provide short term assistance.

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