Valrico homeowners forced out by sinkhole still stuck in hotel, no work at home

VALRICO, FL (WFLA) – An elderly couple forced out of their Valrico home three weeks ago, when a sinkhole opened, is frustrated, stuck in a tiny hotel room.

They want to move back home, and they want to know – for sure – that they’ll be safe there.

“I figured I was going to stay here three or four days at the most. I never dreamed it was going to last this long,” Yolanda Altreche said. “I don’t know where else to turn.”

Altreche turned to 8 On Your Side after getting the runaround from county and insurance officials. She doesn’t understand why her next door neighbors are already back inside their home – where the sinkhole originated – while she’s stuck in the hotel.

“They’re taking advantage of us because we’re old people,” she said.

Our 8 On Your Side investigation found this sitution has been an insurance mess since long before the 6-foot hole opened last month. Altreche’s neighbors, at 4724 Copper Canyon Boulevard, filed a claim with State Farm Insurance in January. The company confirmed a sinkhole underneath the home but denied the claim anyway, saying there was no structural damage.

Now that hole opened, State Farm is busy drilling and prepping to stabilize the ground underneath the home. But Altreche says AAA isn’t doing any work at her home.

Geologists hired by both insurance companies say the hole has been filled and the homes are safe – for now. But the question remains, what needs to be done underground so that it stays that way?

Insurance and county officials pointed fingers at each other, and no one had answers for Altreche.

After days of questions from 8 On Your Side, however, county officials on Thursday afternoon said they cleared the couple to move back. But now, fixing the homes is in the hands of the insurance company.

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