Sinkhole scare continues in Palm Harbor

PALM HARBOR, Fla. - It started with just one Palm Harbor Fire Rescue truck outside the home at 114 Harbor Drive after a woman inside called 911 about a potential sinkhole.

Less than an hour later, the street filled with news crews and gawkers.

"I walk across the floor and I hear the windows shuttering, shaking," Deborah Wiksten remembered.

Wiksten cares for 88-year-old Elsie Hall. While helping her Tuesday morning, Wiksten noticed the tile floor crack in the living room.

"I just wanted to get her out safe," Wiksten said.

Crews evacuated the house immediately, but quickly determined the structural damage likely had nothing to do with a sinkhole.

But after what happened Thursday night in Seffner, when a massive sinkhole swallowed a man in bed, Tampa Bay residents are scared and homeowners aren't taking any chances.

"That is very scary given the fact of what happened recently in Seffner," said Palm Harbor Fire Rescue District Chief Dan Zinge. "We've done some tests inside there. There are no hollow spots. There's no indication there are any problems under the property right now."

Zinge believes the cracks may have resulted from recent cold weather that caused moisture to expand.

Engineers will have to conduct an expensive ground radar test to completely confirm the Palm Harbor damage isn't sinkhole related, but Wiksten's reassured enough that she and Hall returned Tuesday afternoon.

Though the morning set off fear in her neighborhood, with people driving and walking by to find out about any imminent danger, Wiksten's still glad she called 911.

"Everybody's scared. You just don't know what could happen," Wiksten said. "You really don't."

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