Sinkhole damages Dunedin home

DUNEDIN — Two women were evacuated from a home after a sinkhole caused major damage Wednesday, authorities said.

The Dunedin Fire Department responded to 1525 Fife Court at 6 p.m. Wednesday, said Bill McElligott, division chief.

Penny Goldman and her mother, Shirley Smith, 99, were eating dinner when the house began to shake.

"Boom, boom, boom, boom — (it) sounded like we were at war," Goldman said.

The doors were stuck, and firefighters had to carry Smith from the house.

The American Red Cross along with some engineers were surveying the damage Thursday morning.

"I want to live in there again," said Goldman, who has lived in the house for 25 years. "I want to restore my life. It's a beautiful home."

"The house sustained some pretty devastating structural damage," McElligott said. "Cracks in the foundation, cracks in the walls."

No other sinkholes have been reported in the area, he said.

The house has been declared structurally unsafe, which means it is uninhabitable. Previous reports said it was condemned.

Goldman surveyed the home with home insurance and repair crews Thursday but could not yet estimate damage or repair costs.

Neighbor Margaret Perrone said although the house appears fine from the outside, family room floors slope downhill, the ceiling has cracks in spots and the front door won't open.

"We don't know what happened. We just hope it doesn't go any further," said Lee Jaster, a next-door neighbor in Dunedin's Brae Moor neighborhood who has allowed Goldman and Smith to live there temporarily. "We think this house is pretty solid, but you never know."

As a drizzle pattered outside, Jaster said he wrote on his Facebook page: "To anybody who has been praying for rain, now's the time to stop."

Times staff writer Drew Harwell contributed to this report.

Sinkhole damages Dunedin home 07/02/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 2, 2009 8:45pm]

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