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Woman evacuates Palm Harbor home after cracks form throughout the house

Posted at 3:27 AM, Jan 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-11 11:25:29-05

PALM HARBOR, Fla. — The woman living in a Palm Harbor house evacuated after large cracks developed in her home Tuesday night.

The homeowner called 911 around 11:19 p.m. after seeing cracks and hearing noises in the home located in the 3300 block of E. Dorchester Drive.

Firefighters responded and helped her get some of her belongings out of the home.

VIDEO: Sinkhole swallows two homes in Pasco County

The Fire Department inspector says the living room sunk several inches and the pool is slowly draining.

A peak through the front door shows the wall separated from the ceiling and obvious cracks in the side of the home.

ABC Action News learned the homeowner has insurance and will need to contact her insurance company to have an engineer evaluate the property. The structural engineer will determine what caused the issue and confirm whether it was because of a sinkhole. Local authorities said this is a private issue because it is on private property.

IN DEPTH: How to identify if your home is at risk for a sinkhole

According to authorities they do not believe the issue is getting worse. They notified neighbors to contact 911 immediately if they hear any noises or see any problems.

“Yeah I was shocked. I got up this morning and it’s upsetting because our neighbor (is) very nice and she’s been through a lot and so of course I have concern for my house," Steve Berg, a neighbor, said.

A neighbor, living next door, says they were notified of the issue but do not need to evacuate their home at this time.

PHOTOS: Sinkholes in Florida

The homeowner is staying with friends until a decision on the safety of her home can be made.

Now, neighbors are wondering when they need to pack up and leave. 

“I’m staying. I’m not going anywhere, unless somebody says that place is going down, you know, then it’s a different story," neighbor Charles Rogers said.

A geologist at USF said, where there's one sinkhole, there can be many. 

“The neighbors immediately adjacent to that property certainly need to be hyper aware, because these sinkholes can widen with time,” Professor Timothy Dixon said. 

He said weather isn't linked to sinkholes, except in extreme weather conditions, like Hurricane Irma. Sinkholes give little notice above ground.

“It may have happened over hundreds or thousands of years and we only find out about it when you get a massive collapse," Dixon said.

Engineers will go house to house, doing inspections. 

Before you buy a home, check out this map of recorded sinkhole activity in our area.