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Sinkhole opens in front of Pasco home

HOLIDAY — A sinkhole swallowed the driveway and garbage bin of a Pasco County woman's home as she slept late Saturday or early Sunday, authorities said.

The owner of the home at 4923 Calias Drive in Holiday was lucky she didn't blindly back her car out of the garage, neighbors said. A 10-foot-deep pit formed immediately beyond the garage door. The woman, who declined to be interviewed, was not harmed and spent the day at a neighbor's house.

Pasco County Fire Rescue responded to a call about the hole at 9:40 a.m. Sunday. They asked neighbors on each side of the home to pack some belongings and leave, worrying that the hole would spread.

Patricia Dobraski, 60, and her husband stuffed clothes in a bag and grabbed a few fruits and Clif Bars in case they had to spend a couple of days away. The fire trucks and emergency responders had blocked in Dobraski's car, so she figured she'd walk the eight or so blocks to her daughter's home.

But before she and her husband left, firefighters told her the hole stopped growing and it would be safe to stay.

"I'm keeping my fingers crossed," Dobraski said.

To some ire of the neighbors, people stopped by all day to stand in front of the yellow caution tape. The hole, which was about 20 feet long, had taken with it half of the home's concrete walkway, a flowering bush, a black garbage can and a huge slab of driveway that bordered the garage door.

An 89-year-old neighbor next door, George Kimball, was not afraid of the hole spreading. He'd heard rumors it was caused by a water pipe breaking. It was nearly 6 p.m. and he was running late for a date. As he opened the door to his car, he muttered how lucky the homeowner was to have not backed into the pit.

A Pasco Fire Rescue official said the cause of the sinkhole had not been determined. Engineers will need to make that determination.

Weston Phippen can be reached at wphippen@tampabay.com or (727) 893 8321.

Sinkhole opens in front of Pasco home 01/26/14 [Last modified: Sunday, January 26, 2014 10:42pm]
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