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Massive sinkhole in Florida keeps growing, 7 homes affected

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A sinkhole that opened up July 14, 2017 in the Pasco County's Land O' Lakes community near Tampa, western Florida continues to grow, authorities said Sunday, August 6.

Pasco County authorities said over the weekend that 4 additional homes were being condemned. Another one was added to the list on Monday, August 7, bringing the total to seven homes that are now unlivable. 

As reported last month, the sinkhole was first reported 07:21 EDT (11:21 UTC) on July 14 as a depression. It started out as the size of a small pool under a boat on the property of one of the destroyed homes in the Ocean Pines Drive. Over the next 15 minutes, the hole swallowed the boat and was starting to move toward one of the houses. Shortly after, the house located at 21835 Ocean Pines Drive went into the sinkhole. By 08:23 EDT, it reached the roadway, partially swallowing another home and forcing authorities to evacuate 11 nearby homes.

Roads in the area have been immediately closed and the Pasco County Sheriff's Office has set up checkpoints, allowing only residents in with proof of address at Cloverleaf and Pine, Grove and Pine, Lake Padgett Drive and Ocean Pines Drive.

Authorities said they have suspended boating in the nearby lake, adding that there has been a sinkhole in this same area five years ago.

As of the late July 14, the hole was 68 m (225 feet) wide and 15 m (50 feet) deep. Today, August 7, the hole is 79 m (260 feet) at its widest point.

Officials said their main priority now is to remove debris from the sinkhole and decontaminate the water. They aren't sure what caused the destabilization, but think seismic vibrations from trucks and construction equipment around the hole could be to blame.

Featured image: Massive sinkhole near Tampa, Florida continues growing – August 2017. Credit: ABC Action News

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