15-foot-deep sinkhole opens near homes in The Villages

Depressions form nearby

THE VILLAGES, Fla. – A 15-foot-deep sinkhole opened up this week between two houses, forcing at least one family out of their home.

John Longacre with Sumter County Public Safety told News 6 the hole was discovered on Monday by landscapers, and neighbors said it's grown a lot since then.

Officials on Wednesday confirmed the hole is in fact a sinkhole and said while the size has remained the same, there are some concerns about nearby power lines.

Ron Womach said he's been watching the hole grow from his kitchen window, and he said he's noticed quite a difference even from Tuesday morning.

"As it's getting bigger, you become more and more concerned," Womach said.

Sumter County officials estimate the hole is 20-feet wide and 15-feet deep.

"I spent last night here and slept in the front bedroom as far as I could get away from it," he said. "Tonight, I'm probably going to spend it with some of my friends."

He said the American Red Cross has stepped in to help him and his wheelchair-bound neighbor.

Sumter County officials tagged his neighbor's home on Tuesday, declaring it unsafe.

Because the hole is growing on private property, Sumter County officials said there's little they can do.  They said it will be up to the homeowners' insurance companies to hire surveyors and contractors.

The surveyors, he said, will determine if the hole is a sinkhole or if something else is happening underground.

Wambach said he doesn't have sinkhole insurance, and he hopes the hole doesn't get any bigger.

Neighbors on Wednesday said two more depressions have formed near the sinkhole. Those depressions and the sinkhole are being monitored by public safety officials.

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