Fence added to Seffner sinkhole after teens get too close

- A sinkhole that opened in the yard of a Seffner home Friday night continues to grow, spreading towards the foundation of a duplex.

Initial reports estimated the hole off Clay Pit Road to be 27 feet deep and 22 feet wide, but it expanded significantly both Saturday and Sunday, spreading at least two feet early Sunday morning, according to the Hillsborough County Rapid Response Team.

"My wife wants to move. [We're] just terrified. I don't even want to walk in my backyard," said Mark Stallard, who lives a block away from the sinkhole.

Many residents said it is frightening reminder of the deadly sinkhole that swallowed a Seffner home in 2013, killing Jeffrey Bush as he slept in his bed. A sinkhole reopened in the same spot in August of this year.

"You don't know if it's going to happen to you, you don't know if one is going to open up in your home," said Brittany Arias.

Neighbors have been watching the hole as it edges closer to a duplex and the home behind it. Both occupants have been evacuated. They are being assisted by the Red Cross.

A temporary fence and several 'Keep Out' signs were added around the hole Saturday night, after neighbors reported seeing teenagers jump a fence to the yard to get a closer look at the hole.

"There was somebody [Saturday night] that did go over the four foot fence, a teenager that went over by the hole. We want to make sure nobody gets in there," said Robin Caton with the Rapid Response Team.

The sinkhole is on private property, spreading between a duplex and the garage of a neighboring home, so the homeowners are responsible for hiring a geo-technical engineer to assess the damage and fill the sinkhole.

County officials said the owner of the duplex made several calls to engineers Friday night and Saturday, but she has not been able to reach anyone yet.

The Rapid Response Team is monitoring the growth of the sinkhole and making sure curious onlookers don't get too close to the depression.

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