Sinkhole may force DeLeon Springs couple out of home

County said property could be condemned

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – A huge sinkhole is swallowing up Rosario Rizzo’s property since Friday morning when a Volusia County Deputy knocked on his door to break the news.

“I come out here and I saw that and I was devastated,” said Rizzo. “It’s 40 feet across 30 feet deep.”

The sinkhole took out a centuries-old tree and could be creeping closer to his historical home that was built in 1890. Right now, the sinkhole sits in front of his duplex that he rents out next door. Rizzo said the county told him both properties could be condemned, leaving him and his wife homeless.

"I'm not going to leave five cats. I will stay here with them. I'll go down with the ship so to speak," he said.

Jokes aside, Rizzo said he's concerned because he can't afford to leave and he can't afford to fix it.

"The tree itself probably talking about $20,000 to get that out of here. Then you're probably talking about another $50,$60,&70,000 to take care of the hole."

Rizzo turned to his insurance company but did not get the answer he wanted to hear.

“Under their contract, it says nothing in there for sinkholes unless it damages the structure itself. He said you’d have to get a separate sinkhole policy for that,” he said.

Rizzo also said his insurance company would pay if his home ends up being condemned. He then called the county for financial help, along with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Agency but to no avail.

"With all the agencies we have, I would think that someone would be able to come and help us because with this financial burden, it's going to be fantastic," said Rizzo.

Rizzo's sinkhole is one of three. Volusia County responded to them last week, which the county said was the cause of the murky water in DeLeon Springs State Park. The county filled the other two sinkholes and said it's Rizzo's responsibility to fill his because the sinkhole is on his private property.

It's a solution that Rizzo just can't afford.

“On a social security income, there’s no way.”

About the Author: