Ocala sinkhole evacuees could be displaced for months

Ground stabilization might take 8-12 weeks, officials say

By Cathleigh Winningham - Producer

OCALA, Fla. - Residents displaced after several sinkholes opened in the middle of an Ocala neighborhood could be out of their homes for months.

According to the Ocala Star Banner, evacuees in the Wynchase section of Fore Ranch have been told it will take anywhere from eight to 12 weeks to ensure that the nearby ground is stabilized. 

While residents will not be able to live in the evacuated townhomes, officials say they will be allowed to visit and get personal items. 

[READ:  Letter sent to residents]

The sinkholes began opening April 25 and have since expanded and overlapped. 

Residents in at least eight townhomes were forced to evacuate. 

'It sounded like a bomb'

"I’m a little nervous," Stacy Guzman, who lives in the complex, told News 6 late last month.

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.

[RELATED:  Sinkholes: How do they form, what causes them? | 'It sounded like a bomb:' 8 possible sinkholes open near Ocala homesGrowing number of sinkholes threaten Ocala homes]

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."

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