Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Live coverage from the scene:

Want more? Tap here to follow the full stream

Expanding hole forces residents to evacuate Tarpon Springs mobile home park (w/video)

TARPON SPRINGS — A 60-foot-wide hole opened near a mobile home park Wednesday morning, triggering evacuations as authorities responded to the scene.

The hole, estimated to be about 35 feet deep, is off U.S. 19 near Mango Street adjacent to the Tarpon Shores Mobile Home Park. Tarpon Springs spokeswoman Judy Staley said no one was injured, but about 20 people from six homes were evacuated as a precaution.

Two of those people were Dave and Becky Haver, snowbirds from Ohio who own the house directly in front of the hole. The couple said they came to Florida in December and planned to leave for Ohio this weekend, but their plans changed when they saw the hole open around 9 a.m.

"We may just rearrange the vehicle, pack up and head north today," said Dave Haver, 74, who was in his backyard workshop when ground gave way. He said he heard crunching and cracking as the hole sucked in about 20 feet of their white fence, revealing a utility worker on the other side who warned him not to come any closer.

Becky Haver, 62, said she and her husband were able to grab some clothes, medications, paperwork and basic necessities before police knocked on their front door and told them to "hurry up and get out."

The couple called the hole totally unexpected, but said workers have been repairing something on the other side of the fence for about a week. Staley confirmed that this week the city had contractors from Earth Tech Geotechnical Construction Services working under Tampa-based engineering firm Tierra Inc. to repair a previous road collapse.

Tarpon Springs police Maj. Jeff Young said it was unclear if workers caused the hole, but when ground gave way it caused breaks in a 30-inch county sewer line, a 6-inch city sewer line and a 4-inch city water line. Staley said because there are both city and county lines and a part of the mobile home's fence involved, responsibility for repairs may fall on all three parties. She confirmed multiple sinkholes have opened around the mobile home park in the past.

Authorities said the hole is expected to grow in size. Pinellas County spokeswoman Mary Burrell said crews are working to divert water flow from the broken sewer line and ask that residents east of Lake Tarpon and north of East Lake Woodlands avoid unnecessary use of water until further notice.

Staley said crews are attempting to drain the wastewater from the hole so they can assess the damage. City and county emergency services and the American Red Cross will find a place for displaced residents to stay. Crews will make a temporary repair April 2 and a permanent one once the hole is stabilized.

Dave and Becky Haver said no information has been given to them or their neighbors about when they will be let back into their homes. They're prepared to go back to Ohio if they have to.

"We were getting ready to leave, but we didn't expect to leave under these terms," Becky Haver said. "It isn't how I wanted to end my vacation, that's for sure."

Times staff writer Laura Morel contributed to this report. Contact Megan Reeves at mreeves@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4153. Follow @mreeves_tbt.

Emergency workers assess an area where a 60-foot-wide hole opened Wednesday in a Pinellas County utilities easement. The area borders the south side of the Tarpon Shores Mobile Home Park on Rachel Drive in Tarpon Springs. Crews evacuated a half dozen residents whose homes were in close proximity to the sinkhole, according to authorities at the scene. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]

Emergency workers assess an area where a 60-foot-wide hole opened Wednesday in a Pinellas County utilities easement. The area borders the south side of the Tarpon Shores Mobile Home Park on Rachel Drive in Tarpon Springs. Crews evacuated a half dozen residents whose homes were in close proximity to the sinkhole, according to authorities at the scene. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]

Expanding hole forces residents to evacuate Tarpon Springs mobile home park (w/video) 03/30/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 30, 2016 9:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh

    Soccer

    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  2. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  3. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case

    Crime

    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  5. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.