10-foot hole appears under home in The Villages

Neighbors concerned about sinkholes in the area

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter

SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. - Department of Public Safety officials said they spent the weekend monitoring a hole that opened up underneath a home in The Villages on Friday.

Ron Fox told News 6 he was alerted by his neighbor Friday night.

"I guess the lawnmower guy had found it and told him, and he came over and said, 'I have a sinkhole, I have a sinkhole,'" he said.

Fox said his wife called 911, and authorities quickly put up signs declaring the home unsafe.

"My wife was ready to move when it happened on Friday," Fox said. "She said, 'we got to get out of here.'"

The hole is located where the grass meets the foundation of the home on Duran Drive inside the Village Alhambra.

It measures approximately three feet across, but it's at least ten feet deep.

Department of Public safety officials confirm to News 6 the hole has not grown since it was first discovered.

This is not the first time this community has seen a sinkhole.

Several were reported in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in 2017.

Neighbors said one home on Botello Avenue hasn't been lived in since a sinkhole appeared in the backyard, and the woman who lives next door said she was hit by one, as well.

"I had a sinkhole under my house," said Belinda Sweeney. "I stayed in that house until it got really bad with repairs, and I moved out for three months."

"It could happen again," said Fox.. "It could open up somewhere else, and I don’t know what’s covered and what isn’t covered with insurance and all that kind of stuff, but it’s definitely a big concern."

The man who was displaced by the hole discovered on Friday is staying in a hotel until his insurance company decides next steps, according to neighbors.

Sweeney said she plans to go to The Villages city meeting on Tuesday to complain about the condition of the house next door.

She said the vacant home has become overgrown and is not taken care of. 

For more information on what you can do to protect yourself from sinkholes, click here.

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