Land O’ Lakes homeowners still displaced following massive sinkhole as cleanup continues

LAND O’ LAKES, Fla. (WFLA) – When a gigantic sinkhole ate two homes in her Pasco County neighborhood, Emily Geldbaugh couldn’t believe it.

Nearly two weeks later and she also can’t believe that she’s still waiting to find out if it’s safe to return to her Ocean Pines Drive home.

“Just can’t stay there right now,” Geldbaugh said. “Can’t live there.”

Even though everything she owns is inside.

“So, for you, it’s sort of a wait and wonder situation?” we asked.

“A long wait probably, but I feel fortunate,” she said.

Other residents who live near the sinkhole can’t get to their belongings because emergency crews declared at least six homes next to the sinkhole unsafe and ordered people to stay away.

We were there Tuesday as engineers and geologists collected data and used 3D imaging above and below the ground to get a better understanding of the activity around the hole.

“It’s not really prevention in that things are going to happen,” said University of South Florida Associate Professor Lori Collins. “It’s just where we tend to develop and where we have buildings and where susceptible places are.”

Within the next few weeks, the homeowners who lost their homes should know if it’s their responsibility to clean up the things that fell into the sinkhole or if the county will take on the task.

And Emily Geldbaugh must determine if she’ll return knowing how close she came to calamity.

“I don’t think I’d be comfortable living there at all,” she said.

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