Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Family starts over after losing home to sinkhole

TARPON SPRINGS — Nathaniel and Virginia Crawford are shopping for a new home and trying to look to the future, but they still are grieving over having to leave a lifetime of possessions and memories behind.

In June, the couple of 64 years fled their South Disston Avenue home with only the clothes on their backs after sinkholes suddenly opened in their yard and left their house teetering.

In front of their home, an enormous sinkhole yawned open in the street.

The condition of the Crawfords' property is so hazardous that they haven't been able to retrieve their belongings from the house where they lived for 50 years. The property is fenced off and posted.

Disston Avenue also remains closed to traffic. The city authorized nearly $50,000 of work to repair the road and the hole was filled with 25 dump truck loads of dirt. Public Works director Tom Funcheon said the work should be completed and the road reopened by Friday.

Meanwhile, the Crawfords are living with one of their daughters in Clearwater and shopping for a new home in the Holiday area of Pasco County. They had sinkhole insurance and have received a check for the loss of their home. They are awaiting an insurance settlement for the home's contents.

Until June 16, the small ranch-style house had been the family's gathering spot. The Crawfords raised their five children there and hosted family reunions and Sunday dinners.

"It's going to be hard, real hard," Virginia Crawford said of leaving everything behind. "There are different things in there that are very important and dear to us, but we can't get them out. But we just thank God everyone is safe and no one was hurt."

Ernest Crawford, 59, said it's difficult to watch his parents start over. He said there is still sinkhole activity underneath the home, with the sinkhole in the back yard continuing to grow. A July 11 report by Tierra Inc., a geotechnical engineering firm from Tampa, said the Disston Avenue area has a moderate to high potential for sinkhole development.

"It's devastating to us," Ernest Crawford said. "We never thought anything like this would happen to the place we grew up in. It's the last thing we ever thought. But my parents are taking it a lot better than I really thought they would."

Contact Demorris A. Lee at or (727) 445-4174.

Family starts over after losing home to sinkhole 08/26/11 [Last modified: Friday, August 26, 2011 8:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.