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Florida Sinkhole Swallows House in Land O' Lakes

Image: Florida Sinkhole Swallows House in Land O' Lakes

Debris is strewn about from a partially collapsed home in Land O' Lakes, Fla. on Friday, July 14, 2017. (Alessandra da Pra/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

By Zoe Papadakis   |   Friday, 14 Jul 2017 12:59 PM

A Florida sinkhole swallowed a house and severely damaged another in Land O' Lakes on Friday. Meanwhile, families in nearby homes have been evacuated by emergency officials.

The sinkhole was first reported as a depression around 7:56 a.m. on Friday morning, noted ABC News.

In less than 30 minutes, the sinkhole had expanded dramatically to reach the road, prompting the evacuation of several surrounding homes and resulting in road closures.

Pasco County Fire and Rescue confirmed that one home had been completely destroyed and a second was at approximately 60 percent loss.

Speaking at the scene, Kevin Guthrie, assistant county administrator for public safety, said there were no reported injuries but 11 homes had been evacuated, according to a video posted on Facebook by the Pasco Sheriff's Office. He explained that building inspectors had tagged all those homes as unsafe and residents would only be allowed back into their houses once they were deemed safe again.

By midmorning, the sinkhole had expanded to about 200 feet in width and 50 feet in depth.

Guthrie said that, within the first hour, the sinkhole had shown tremendous growth, progressing between 5 and 100 feet, but it appeared to have slowed down since.

"We are expecting it to grow," he cautioned.

Guthrie said that the question of safety was under control and, although it had been a frightening experience for residents, it was now a question of trying to conserve property.

Residents of the homes asked to evacuate the area were allowed to fetch their most valuable items and Gurthrie said fire fighters and sheriff deputies assisted residents in obtaining those.

He also warned residents of the surrounding area to ensure they have their most valuable items on hand should the evacuation need to be expanded.

"We need to take protective actions," he said.

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A Florida sinkhole swallowed a house and severely damaged another in Land O' Lakes on Friday.
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