New Florida Sinkhole Opens Near Home Where Man Disappeared

Monday, 25 Mar 2013 08:15 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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A new sinkhole opened over the weekend between two houses in the same Florida town where a man was killed in his sleep after the earth swallowed the floor of his bedroom just weeks ago.

The latest sinkhole, estimated to be about 8 feet in diameter and 10 feet deep, opened Saturday evening around 7 p.m. on Lake Shore Ranch Drive in Seffner, Fla., according to NBC affiliate WFLA.com.

No one was injured but the homes on either side of the sinkhole were evacuated as a precaution, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Jessica Damico told WFLA.

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On Feb. 28, a 100-foot-wide sinkhole collapsed the floor of Jeff Bush's bedroom in his Tampa-area home. Though his brother jumped into the wreckage to try and help Bush out, he was ultimately declared dead. The home was later demolished, and Bush's body was never recovered.

"Certainly you get at least dozens of sinkholes a year but to have one to occur right in the center of a home and certainly to injure and even kill somebody, I've never heard of that happening before," John Marquardt, a geotechnical engineer, told ABC's "Good Morning America."

A week later, a second hole opened up just two miles from Bush's Florida house. The 10-foot-wide sinkhole crumbled the ground beneath a fence dividing two properties, and no injuries were reported.

Sinkholes in Florida are caused by the state's porous geological bedrock, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. As acidic rainwater filters into the ground, it dissolves the rock causing erosion that can lead to underground caverns, which cause sinkholes when they collapse.

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"There's hardly a place in Florida that's immune to sinkholes," Sandy Nettles, who owns a geology consulting company in the Tampa area, told the Daily Mail. "There's no way of ever predicting where a sinkhole is going to occur."

Related stories:

Californian Finds Empty Hole After Sinkhole Swallows Pond


Sinkhole in Pennsylvania Puts Scare Into Grandma, But House Survives

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