'It sounded like a bomb:' 8 possible sinkholes open near Ocala homes

Officials work to determine cause of holes

OCALA, Fla. – An area of an Ocala community has been taped off after at least eight possible sinkholes opened Wednesday and Thursday, officials said.

The holes opened up on a hillside leading to a retention pond, forcing rescue crews to evacuate people from a row of town homes.

[READ: Letter sent to residents answering sinkhole questions]

Ocala Fire Rescue said eight town homes were evacuated Wednesday night in the Wynchase Townhomes complex on Southwest 42nd Place after the holes began forming earlier in the day.

Video posted by Ocala Fire Rescue shows one of the holes opening and water rushing into the bottom of it.

Engineers surveyed the area with ground-penetrating radar, but have not yet determined if they're sinkholes.

It's not known when residents will be able to return home.

"I’m a little nervous," said Stacy Guzman, who lives in the complex.

Neighbors shared her fears.

Richard Morang said he's been hearing strange noises inside his town home, and he hasn't been evacuated.

"Kind of like a popping noise that we heard before," he said. "In the downstairs bathroom there’s cracks. We heard noises before, but they told us everything was OK, so I went back inside, and now, we see cracks in the bathroom."

Shannon Cole said he's been able to go into his home at his own risk, but he can't stay there.

"We've been dealing with so much. Scared to death to lose our home right now," he said.

Cole said some of the holes opened suddenly.

"I don't really know how to explain what it did in the water, but it looked like explosions across the water. There was at least four to five of them that happened," he said. "It sounded like a bomb going off. It was very loud."

Cole said the situation is taking a toll on him and his family.

"It's very stressful. Very stressful," he said. "My oldest boy, he's 11 years old. He's still crying right now."

Cable crews told News 6 the moving earth cut a fiber optic line carrying cable television to the complex. 

In the meantime, a monitor is watching the site, keeping an eye out for any more movement in the ground.

Watch News 6 and stay with ClickOrlando.com for updates.

About the Authors:

Erik Sandoval joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2013 and became an Investigator in 2020. During his time at News 6, Erik has covered several major stories, including the 2016 Presidential campaign. He was also one of the first reporters live on the air at the Pulse Nightclub shooting.