2 more Land O’ Lakes homes condemned after massive sinkhole grows

LAND O’ LAKES, Fla. (WFLA) — Pasco Emergency Management officials say more homes have been condemned following last month’s massive sinkhole that swallowed two homes in Land O’ Lakes.

Officials gave an update on the sinkhole Saturday morning, and said they are still waiting for geologists to officially determine if the sinkhole is active.

Two more homes were condemned by county officials due to visible signs of cracks in the foundation and exterior walls of the home. The homes also have several interior cracks, tiles buckling and granite breaking in half.

An additional third home could soon be condemned. County officials say they are keeping a close eye on it because holes have opened up in the yard. There is no structural damage that is visible yet on that home.

Cleanup on the sinkhole was supposed to begin on Friday, but plans were delayed when a 10-foot wide, 80-foot-long section of the wall on the west side of the sinkhole collapsed overnight Thursday.

The sinkhole grew, and is now 260 feet at its widest point. That forced the contractor to stop working because he anticipated more problems.

The equipment brought in to pump out water and remove debris cannot be within 20 to 30 feet of the hole.

Bubbling was visible in the sinkhole on Friday. County officials say they believe it’s caused by debris that sunk to the bottom and plugged a hole.

Emergency management may be dumping crushed lime rock into the hole Saturday. If that’s successful, crews could start trying to remove debris as early as Sunday.

To do that, they will build a ramp into the hole and bring in a small barge that will let them remove the debris.

“We’ve gotta get the debris out of there,” said Assistant County Administrator for Public Safety Kevin Guthrie. “We’ve gotta get the water decontaminated.”

The ultimate goal is to stabilize as much land as they can.

The original timeline to have it completed within two to four weeks has now changed as well.

“This is going to be a very long, methodical process,” Guthrie said.

That includes testing the land surrounding the sinkhole with ground-penetrating radar to make sure there’s no movement.

“We don’t want anybody to get hurt and we do not want to have to evacuate any more homes,” said Guthrie.

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