Sinkholes open up at Ocala townhome complex

Police ask 8 units to evacuate in building near sinkhole

Published On: Jun 25 2012 02:37:17 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 26 2012 07:08:48 AM EDT
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OCALA, Fla. -

Construction crews plan to continue work Tuesday after several sinkholes opened near a townhome complex, forcing evacuations.

Workers spent Monday filling the sinkhole with dirt and clay and building a dam to stop water from a nearby retention pond from pouring in and making the sinkhole grow.

On Tuesday, Ocala police said geologists will arrive at the sinkholes to drill holes near the evacuated building nearest to the 100-foot long sinkhole to check the ground stability before work resumes, said construction crews. Crews said the sinkhole has grown to 10 feet deep.

Local 6 news helicopter Sky 6 flew over the Fore Ranch townhome complex of Ocala, where a large sinkhole appeared in the backyard of a gated community. The apartments have been taped off, as the sinkhole nears the buildings.

Ocala police said the ordered people leave eight units in one of the buildings closest to the hole. Police said there are at least half a dozen large sinkholes that have opened up in the area near SW 42nd Street and SW 52 Terrace.

Police said geologist hired by Fore Ranch are coming to examine the sinkhole and will get involved if there is additional risk to residents' safety.

Some residents expressed frustration over the continued problems with sinkholes in their neighborhood.

"I'm very concerned because it's such a nice neighborhood and I have so many neighbors now that are experiencing sinkhole activity," said Luciana Wheeler.

Police said the American Red Cross is helping the families displaced by the sinkholes. Their homes could be condemned for at least a week.

Watch Local 6 for more on this story.