Florida sinkhole might force condemnation of more homes

Ralph Terry, a 73-year-old retiree who lives in a sleepy neighborhood in Florida’s suburbs, seems particularly sanguine about living just a few doors down from a gaping, literal, void in the earth.

“I don’t see no cracks in my blocks in my house,” he said on Tuesday, peering out the front door of his house at the massive hole that has left seven of his neighbors’ homes condemned. Then he paused.

“And anyway, I’m tying a rope to my waist at night and tying it to the tree out back,” Terry chuckled.

Although he joked about the situation that has drawn reporters to his yard like ants to a picnic, Terry conceded he’s ready to leave at a moment’s notice — which is probably a good thing in this area.

Florida officials say more homes could possibly be condemned due to a massive sinkhole that has already made seven homes unlivable, including two that were consumed entirely by the collapsing hole. There were no injuries.

Authorities in Pasco County, a suburban area north of Tampa, told The Associated Press that engineering surveys are underway.

“I believe that future homes will be condemned based on the fact that we are getting technical surveys back and engineering reports back that say that some of the properties are not safe,” said county administrator Kevin Guthrie.

The sinkhole opened July 14. It now stretches about 260 feet (79 meters) at its widest point.

Contractors have been working to clean debris from the sinkhole. Work temporarily halted on Friday after large chunks of its edge crumbled inward.

People in the two destroyed homes and five…

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