|Asunto:||[GAP] New sinkhole swallows 2 homes in Volusia County|
|Fecha:||Martes, 11 de Enero, 2005 22:55:38 (-0600)|
|Autor:||Anahuak Home <redanahuak @...............mx>
From: Malena Sotomayor <malenasotomayor@...>
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2005 21:49:25 -0500
To: Ricardo Redluz <redanahuak@...>
New sinkhole swallows 2 homes in Volusia County- ORLANDO, Florida
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By Erin Ailworth
Posted January 10 2005, 8:34 AM EST
ORANGE CITY -- Rebecca Swainston's house folded like a paper lantern Sunday
morning. A cracked roof resting 2 feet off the ground atop a pile of beige
cinder blocks is all that is left after a second sinkhole opened in Volusia
County in less than a month.
By the afternoon, officials said the hole was stable and allowed residents
back into the area. The void is about four miles away from a massive pit
that swallowed several lanes of Howland Boulevard in Deltona on Dec. 18.
Swainston, 34, woke early Sunday at her home on Springbank Avenue.
Her 2-month-old son, Allen, was fussing for his bottle at 7 a.m., so she got
up to prepare one. When she heard a loud "thud," she said she thought it was
a tree branch falling in the yard. She tried to open the front door to
check, but it was jammed -- the foundation had dropped.
"I heard another thud, and that's when I realized it was the house,"
Swainston said. She forced a door open, grabbed her son and fled to her
mother's house a block and a half away.
"I said 'Call somebody because I think I have a sinkhole forming under my
house, and stuff is shifting,' " Swainston said she told her mother by cell
Next door, the Strouds were busy gathering their belongings as quickly as
"The wife woke me up and said it sounded like somebody was jumping up and
down on the roof," said homeowner William Stroud, 45. The couple called 911
when they felt the floor "dropping."
Dispatchers told them to leave immediately. About 45 minutes later, both
houses had become casualties of the sinkhole, which grew to 120 feet by 85
feet and bottomed out at 40 feet deep.
No one was injured, county officials said, but 10 houses were temporarily
evacuated on Springbank Avenue, between South Sparkman Avenue and Niagra
Though sinkholes are not uncommon here, officials are blaming rain from
three hurricanes for the number of sinkholes they have been seeing recently.
"Unfortunately we had all that rain associated with the hurricanes, and now
that water is dropping again," said County Engineer Gerald Brinton, who
oversaw the work to plug the Deltona sinkhole. When the water table drops,
certain areas in the limestone bedrock are left unsupported, so they
collapse beneath waterlogged soil, he said.
Anthony Randazzo, a recently retired 36-year geology professor at the
University of Florida, said that although the two sinkholes likely are not
directly connected, he wouldn't be surprised to see more sinkholes in
Volusia County in the future.
"Sinkholes are a very common phenomenon in north Central Florida," Randazzo
said. "We've seen more sinkholes recently because of the hurricanes and the
aftermath of the hurricanes."
Randazzo said the Volusia sinkholes aren't surprising because there is often
a lag between heavy rainfall and the appearance of holes.
"There are far more sinkholes occurring on the West Coast than the East
Coast, but the type of sinkhole that forms on the East Coast is more
spectacular," he said.
Last month, Asher and Emily Sherkow watched helplessly as the Deltona
sinkhole destroyed their home. Xiomara McGee, her husband and two daughters
were able to move back into their home in the same neighborhood just before
the new year. Officials filled the large hole, but repairs on the city's
major link to Interstate 4 will take months.
By noon the newer void, which is in an unincorporated part of the county
near Orange City, had stabilized, said county spokesman Dave Byron. Workers
will assess how best to repair the hole and cracked residential street
beginning today. The county will seek disaster-relief money from the Federal
Emergency Management Agency to finance the job.
Brinton said that compared with the massive Deltona pit, "this is a baby
sinkhole." He estimated that this hole would require only 200 truckloads of
sand to fill; the Deltona hole ate 1,282 truckloads.
Byron said repairs would be deliberately slower than those done on Howland
so as not to disrupt the lives of those in the neighborhood.
Both homes, built in 1989, are in a neighborhood of cinder-block houses.
The Strouds' three-bedroom, two-bath home split down the middle when the
three bedrooms fell into the hole.
"We were both sleeping when it happened," Stroud said from a hotel room
Sunday night. "Luckily there was a lot of noise with it, and that's what
woke the wife up."
The couple managed to get out of the house with a few important items:
Stroud's medication, two toothbrushes, toothpaste, a change of clothes and
some important papers.
Swainston, who planned to stay the night with her mother, left only with her
son. Neighbors went back and rescued the woman's three Rottweilers and two
of three cats.
Residents whose homes weren't damaged were able to return home Sunday. The
hole attracted a crowd, with people able to get within about 25 to 30 feet.
"I was on my way home, and I got a call, 'Your neighbor's house is falling
into a sinkhole,' " said Suzy Sievert, who lives on the next block. She, her
husband and two kids were looking at their neighbor's uninhabitable house.
The area was inundated with gawkers trying to get a look. Earlier in the
day, Sievert said TV reporters wanted to get on the roof to show the hole to
viewers. The Sieverts said no, and another neighbor turned on the sprinklers
to chase away potential curiosity seekers.
Swainston, who lost her job with a health-care company last year, was
puffy-eyed as she sat watching from afar as workers used bucket trucks to
cut trees and check out the sinkhole.
Two packs of Marlboro Ultralights had been shoved into the cup-holder of her
folding canvas chair. Two stubbed-out cigarette butts already lay at her
sandy feet, which had been clad in a borrowed pair of sandals.
"It's gone," Swainston said of the house where she had lived for five years.
"The roof is on the ground."
Lisa Emmerich and Alicia Caldwell of the Sentinel staff contributed to this
report. Erin Ailworth can be reached at eailworth@... or
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