Massive hole opens up in Windermere yard

Hole close to swallowing sidewalk, large tree

WINDERMERE, Fla. - Geologist say the sinkhole that opened up in the front yard of a Windermere home on Tuesday has stabilized at about 50 feet wide and 6 feet deep.

If the large hole that has opened up in Paul Padfield's front yard was there Monday morning, he did not notice it while racing to get his son to school. But when Padfield returned to his Windermere home a short time later, he realized a large chunk of his lawn was gone.

"It was 25 feet wide and maybe 6 feet deep at that time, and its been growing ever since," said Padfield. By Monday night, the hole had more than doubled in size. One edge of the hole runs along a sidewalk on Waxberry Court and near a very large tree.

A geologist was unable to immediately determine what caused the hole to form. After examining Padfield's property with ground-penetrating sonar, geologists assured the family their home appeared to be safe for now.

Padfield, a longtime Central Floridian, is not entirely surprised to see his front yard vanish. "It's always possible. It could happen anywhere. The state of Florida is like a big piece of swiss cheese, just a matter of waiting for the holes to collapse," said Padfield.

Once the hole stabilizes, Padfield plans to fill it in. But his young son has more ambitious ideas.

"A fish pond," said Alex Padfield, describing his dream to fill in the hole with water. "A fish pond to go fishing whenever I want. I love fishing."

The sinkhole is Padfield's responsibility to fix because it is on his property. But if the sinkhole continues to grow,

[Pics: Sinkhole]

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