I-Team: Neighborhood where hole appeared in yard has history of sinkhole activity

Resident: insurance has refused to pay for repairs

HUDSON, Fla. - We first broke the news yesterday when the ground opened up in the Beacon Woods neighborhood in Hudson, forming a hole in a home's front yard.

Since then we've learned that this hole, like many others, may not be covered by sinkhole insurance.

The good news is that it doesn't appear that the hole has grown since yesterday.

But the bad news is that the neighborhood has several confirmed sinkholes, but not everyone has been able to get them fixed.

"It was like a snap of the fingers," said Shirley Bruck, describing the hole that opened up in her front yard.

She worries it could threaten her biggest investment and her family's safety.

"It's horrifying. I was up every couple of hours looking out my window to see if it got any bigger because I have my son, my grandson, I have cats, I have a bird," said Bruck.

Bruck doesn't have insurance that will cover the damage to her yard.

"I feel like should be covered, but I don’t believe it is," she said.

Before 2011, most homeowners insurance would pay if property owners could prove they had sinkhole activity. But that's no longer the case. 

"You have to have very severe damage to a home for an insurance company to willingly pay your claim," said sinkhole attorney Ted Corless. "Your house has to almost be uninhabitable for an insurance company to confirm."

"This is something that happens to other people," said Bruck.

The calls were confirmed across the street, two doors down from that home, and at the house next-door

"I'm just at my wit’s end for years, I’ve been going through  his," said Angela Smith, who lives next door to Bruck.

Smith has been fighting her insurance company since May 2012, after an engineer found sinkhole activity at her home.

"I have cracks in the house. I have cracks in my tiles," Smith said.

She has hired a lawyer and gone to mediation, but she says her insurance company won't agree to pay to fix her damage.

"It really scared me. Scared me to death," Smith said, describing her thoughts at seeing the hole in the yard next door.

Bruck is now waiting for a geologist to conduct a test on her property and determine the next course of action.

"We're  just hoping for the best at this point," she said.

Bruck said she likely would not have bought a home in the neighborhood had she known there was so much sinkhole activity there. 

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If you have a story you'd like the I-Team to investigate, contact us at adam@abcactionnews.com.

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