Neighbors unsure of future after sinkhole swallows homes

- Officials in Pasco County continue to monitor a 225-feet wide, 50-feet deep sinkhole that swallowed parts of two homes in Land O' Lakes Friday morning.

Officials said the sinkhole grew from six feet at around 7 a.m. to more than 200 feet by the end of the day. As of Saturday morning, the sinkhole had stabilized and did not grow overnight, but it still managed to completely destroy the homes at 21825 and 21835 Ocean Pines Drive.

Neighbors in four of the nine homes evacuated Friday near a massive sinkhole were allowed to return home and their power was turned back on Saturday.

The state is asking homeowners to wait a few days before doing any recovery work. One neighbor told FOX13 she is not sure she wants to continue to live in her home.

Emily Geldbaugh came back Saturday to clear out some of her valuables. She says it's going to be hard to call this home sweet home after all this.

“I'll probably want to leave, but who's going to buy a house when you're next door to a sinkhole?” Emily Geldbaugh asked. “I felt so bad for those people. If it happened a couple hours earlier, they probably would have gotten killed.”

READ: Expert warns, do not ignore signs of sinkholes

No injuries have been reported, though. Geldbaugh returned to her home - marked “unsafe” by state officials - to gather some valuables with her son and grandson.

“It's going to be difficult to watch construction and everything, trying to clean it up and her always thinking something might still happen,” her son, James told us.

At 225 feet in diameter and 50 feet deep, the sinkhole is the largest Pasco County has faced in the last three decades. As of 4 p.m. Saturday, there was no expansion of the sinkhole, meaning Pasco's Emergency Management team can begin moving from what they call a response to a recovery phase.

“The recovery portion of this is going to start involving the hazmat clean-up. There are chemicals in this water. There are septic tanks in this water,” explained Pasco EM representative Kevin Guthrie.

READ: Deputy helps family as home threatened by sinkhole

The county is unsure how much contamination there is in the water, but it will treat it as if the whole area is contaminated. Along with septic tanks, officials know a car and garage items are in the sinkhole.

As for Geldbaugh, the events of the last day have her reconsidering the place she has called home for 14 years.

“Oh, I'm very worried. At the same time, I'm not as worried as I'm sure people across the street are right now,” she said. “I'll come back, but I'll have to think about it from then on what to do.”

Residents who have been displaced by the sinkhole are able to get assistance from the Red Cross, Salvation Army and United Way.

AT A GLANCE: 

- The hole opened up behind a home at 21825 Ocean Pines Drive, Land O' Lakes
- First call came into Pasco County communications at 7:21 a.m.
- Fire Rescue crews arrived at 7:36 a.m.
- Two homes are destroyed:  21835 Ocean Pines Drive and 21825 Ocean Pines Drive
- No injuries have been reported
- A state geologist has verified it's an active sinkhole, still growing
- Need to maintain a 200- to 300-foot perimeter
- 11 homes have been voluntarily evacuated from the area.
- Pasco Fire Rescue rescued two dogs from one home.
- On scene are Pasco Sheriffs Office, Fire Rescue, Emergency Management, Road and Bridge, Building Inspections, Red Cross, Duke Energy, Spectrum.
- Citizens who need help can reach out to Red Cross, Salvation Army, and County Human Services at (727) 847-2411.
- 100 homes are without power in the neighborhood.

The Pasco Sheriff's Office has Checkpoints for residential proof of address at:
- Cloverleaf and Pine
- Grove and Pine
- Lake Padgett Dr. and Ocean Pines Dr.

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