NEW PORT RICHEY (FOX 13) - A large, 15-foot-deep hole has opened in a Pasco County neighborhood, prompting officials to ask nearby residents to evacuate.
According to Pasco County Fire Rescue, the hole has doubled in size since neighbors first noticed it last night; it now measures about 15 feet by 15 feet. It’s in the backyard of two mobile homes along Pearl Drive in the Moon Lake area.
Pasco County Emergency Management and Fire Rescue has called for the voluntary evacuation of six homes immediately surrounding the area, though one is already vacant.
"I thought it was something small," said neighbor Lois Scott. "Any one of these could go."
Residents in four of the remaining homes have agreed to evacuate.
That left one lone holdout who decided to stay in her home.
“Number one, I have no place to go," Katalin Janka explained. "Secondly, I am hoping they come to some kind of decision to fix it.”
It was not immediately clear if the hole is technically a sinkhole. Pasco Emergency Management is waiting for a building inspector to evaluate all of the homes in the area.
The county expects the hole to widen only slightly as it settles, but say the Sunday's heavy summer storms may have worsened the unstable ground.
"Unofficially, there is some type of connection there," said Kevin Guthrie, the deputy administrator of Pasco County. "Officially, I am not a scientist."
"All we can do is pray," said Scott. "It's nature. Nothing we can do about it."