Neighbors say sinkholes hitting homes all over

Dunedin, Florida -- The sinkhole that's spreading behind a Dunedin home has a cluster of neighbors nervous, but not at all surprised.

"My husband flipped on the light and said, 'Get up, get out!'" Pat Simons said. She tugged her shirt, saying, "I'm in my pajamas."

Under orders from firefighters, Simons and her husband bolted out so quickly, they had to come back later with a law enforcement escort to grab keys and medications.

GRAPHIC:Florida's Sinkholes (PDF)

Wayne Erby lives next door to them. "Not the one with the sinkhole -- but the other side of the fence," Erby clarified.

"I called my boss early this morning. At 6:20, something like that, and I told him, 'I'll be in late today. I've got a sinkhole in my backyard.' He was like, 'Oh man! You gotta be kidding me!'"

They're two of the six families asked to leave by first responders who say as of noon Thursday, the hole was 70 feet across, 50 feet deep, and likely still slowly growing.

"Do I have to move?" Erby said, exasperated. "Do I have to move? I've been here for so long. Ugh."

Just before noon Thursday, firefighters encircled Erby's house with red tape marked "DANGER," so their hopes of returning home by nightfall seem to have disappeared.

All this anxiety comes from much more than just this one hole.

"With the activity around here, there's a good chance that any one of these homes could be next," Brett Robinson said.

Robinson's mother lives a few hundred feet from the hole. He says crews discovered potential chasms under her house a few years ago and did extensive underground repairs.

Neighbors say this area off Pinehurst Road just south of Highlander Park and the Dunedin Community Center is swarming with sinkholes. Cracks, shifting, and worse have been reported in home after home.

We're told one house got a whole new exterior after sinkhole repairs. The house next door has a dark, diagonal crack in the side visible from the street.

Go one more house down and you'll find an empty lot where neighbors say a home too damaged to repair was bulldozed. And across the street from that is a house they say the owners abandoned after it was struck by a sinkhole.

All of this is just one street over from the sinkhole that opened up Thursday morning and continues to grow.

Sinkholes are an issue in more than just this immediate neighborhood.This map assembled by theUniversity of South Florida in 2008 found a cluster of sinkholes reported around Dunedin.

That includes one less than a mile from Thursday morning's hole on Robmar Road.


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