Saturday, April 21, 2018
Public safety

Hole opens under Port Richey condos

PORT RICHEY — When Peggy Gamble first noticed the hole in the ground just outside her front door Saturday, behind the hedges and directly below the condo's address numbers, it was still small. She wondered why someone or something would be digging there.

Gamble, 78, checked it again Sunday. This time the sun shone down into the abyss under the foundation. She realized it would be a problem.

"We've lived in Florida long enough," she said. "We know about sinkholes."

By Monday morning, engineers were investigating the 8-foot-wide, 15- to 20-foot-deep hole that opened under the condo in the Orchards of Radcliffe complex.

Pasco County spokesman Doug Tobin said the hole was reported just before 7 p.m. Sunday. It opened under one of the six units in the condo complex just north of Ridge Road. The Gambles were evacuated, but others in the complex elected to stay, the spokesman said.

The hole isn't expanding, and engineers were called in to determine whether it can be classified as a sinkhole.

By 10 a.m. Monday, Gamble and her husband Jim, 82, had packed their most important belongings into Publix tote bags to carry out to their daughter's car. Jim Gamble carried along his Gibson guitar he didn't want to lose — "This thing's better than $2,000, right here," he said — and a suitcase of clothes.

They joked about bothering their daughter, with whom they'll be staying until the hole is fixed or they find another place to live.

"There's not much we can do about it," Peggy Gamble said. "I think of everything I have in there that I could lose. It's a lot of memories. But it didn't sink while we were in it."

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