Florida Sinkhole Swallows Swimming Pool, Residents Evacuate

By Philip Ross on June 4, 2013 10:53 AM EDT

florida sinkhole
Sinkholes, like the one pictured here in Chicago, Ill., are common in Florida. A Florida sinkhole swimming pool incident, in which a Winter Park resident’s backyard fell into a giant underground cavern measuring 40 feet deep and 50 feet wide, has neighbors fearing that their homes could be in danger as well. (Photo: Reuters)

The latest in sinkhole news comes to us from the Sunshine State, where one woman came home to find her swimming pool drained and her backyard slowly crumbling into a cavernous opening in the earth.

The Florida sinkhole swimming pool debacle took place Monday in Winter Park, Fla., a suburban city dotted by small lakes just a few miles northeast of downtown Orlando. The resident of the home, Suzanne Blumenauer, was shocked to come home and find her pool suddenly drained. Just the day before, the Florida resident hosted a giant pool party in her backyard and everything seemed fine.

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"They came back from dinner and half the backyard was gone," Battalion Chief Billy Richardson, told the Orlando Sentinel.

Yahoo News reports that by Monday, the Florida sinkhole measured 40 feet deep and 50 feet wide. Several homes were evacuated. Neighbors have sinking feelings in their own guts and are worried that their backyards could also be in danger of falling into a pit. Several homes in the area have been evacuated as a precaution.

"It definitely concerns me, but there is not much I can do until someone knocks on my door and lets me know 'hey, it might not be safe. You might want to evacuate,'" one neighbor, James Russo, told Bay News 9. "I hope it doesn't come, but you never know. I've got my fingers crossed."

The Orlando Sentinel reports that some neighbors believe the Florida sinkhole could be related to a construction project taking place near one of the neighborhood's lakes.

According to Yahoo News, sinkholes are common in Florida, especially Winter Park, where the bedrock is made of limestone and other carbonate rock that is easily deteriorated by groundwater. Winter Park's most famous sinkhole occurred in 1981. The crater measured 350 feet across and 75 feet deep, and made international headlines because of its massive size. The sinkhole caused $4 million in damage; at least five Porsches from a German car business and a three-bedroom home were swallowed by the massive sinkhole.

In March of this year, a 36-year-old man was swallowed by a sinkhole that opened up underneath his bedroom in Seffner, Fla. The sinkhole measured 30 feet wide and 60 feet deep. iScience Times reported that Jeffrey Bush was sleeping in his bed when the sinkhole opened up and he disappeared into it.

Bush's brother called 911 to report that Bush had fallen into the sinkhole. His body was never recovered.

Read more from iScience Times:

China Sinkhole: How Big Was The Massive Sinkhole That Killed 5 Factory Workers In Shenzhen?

New Jersey Sinkhole: Forklift Operator Swallowed By Huge 10-Foot Hole

Chicago Flood 2013 Sinkhole Swallows Cars: Watch Video Of The Shocking Aftermath [VIDEO]

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