How to help Florida sinkhole victims

Water to be tested in area where 2 homes swallowed

LAND O'LAKES, Fla. - Emergency management officials will collect water samples to test for E. coli on Monday in the immediate neighborhood where a sinkhole swallowed two homes in Florida.

Additional residents in the area -- where many people use wells -- can have their water tested for a fee.

Pasco County officials said in a news release that families from four of the homes that were initially evacuated were allowed to return Saturday evening. Five other homes are still deemed unsafe for occupancy.

The sinkhole opened up Friday morning and grew to 225 feet in diameter and 50 feet (15 meters) deep, taking with it the two homes and a boat. No one was injured.

The scene is being considered a hazardous materials incident because of possible septic tank issues and building debris.

Meanwhile, the United Way is starting a fund to help homeowners affected by the sinkhole.

[RELATED:  Maps trace sinkhole activity street by street]

Alex Delgado, of the United Way of Pasco County, said during a news conference on Monday that the agency is raising money to help the families who lived in the two homes that were destroyed and nearby homes where residents are still displaced following Friday's sinkhole.

Delgado said donations can be made through the agency's website, unitedwaypasco.org, or by texting SINKHOLE to 41444.

County assistant administrator Kevin Guthrie says renters lived in the two destroyed homes and neither had renter's insurance. He called their loss "catastrophic."

Watch News 6 for more on this story.

 

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