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Florida Sinkhole Demolishes Houses, Swallows Boat and Pool

Image: Florida Sinkhole Demolishes Houses, Swallows Boat and Pool

By Morgan Chilson   |   Thursday, 14 Nov 2013 05:20 PM

A Florida family escaped their house as a sinkhole swallowed part of it early Thursday morning and partly demolished another while swallowing a boat and a swimming pool.

The family was asleep in its Dunedin home when 13-year-old Ivy Dupre woke up and heard a banging sound, WTSP TV reported. She thought burglars were breaking in and awoke her dad.

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“I grabbed a rifle and start walking through the house so I could see what was going on, and I hear the banging ... and as I approach the back of the house and I see our back screen room just sticking out three feet off the ground,” Michael Dupre told WTSP. “I knew instantly it opened up.”

Michael Dupre told the Tampa Bay Times that the sinkhole, which is continuing to grow and measures about 70 feet in diameter and about 53 feet deep, engulfed a screened-in porch and a new boat, and also took a neighbor’s pool.

An engineering firm assessed the sinkhole damage and said Dupre’s home and a neighboring house were total losses, the Times said. Michael Dupre had been fighting with his Citizens insurance company over the possibility of a sinkhole occurring at his home.

Michael Dupre’s lawyer, Jason Salgado, told the Times that Dupre didn’t feel as if the analysis of a sinkhole risk had been thorough. The risk was assessed as “minor distress” for the home. The family was in the process of having repairs made to fill the holes in the ground when this sinkhole occurred.

Concern with sinkholes in the area had been exacerbated after a man was killed in Seffner when a sinkhole engulfed the bedroom where he was sleeping, the Times said.

WTSP reported six homes nearby were evacuated, with two homes in addition to Dupre’s showing cracks and damage attributed to the sinkhole. Neighbors said there has been numerous sinkhole damage to homes in the area, which has been nicknamed “Sinkhole Alley.”

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