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Sinkhole opens under Volusia homes

A large sinkhole damaged two houses Sunday in Volusia County, bringing one roof to the ground and forcing the evacuation of 11 other homes.

Authorities said the 110-foot-wide hole opened in an incorporated section of Orange City. One house was destroyed, another was seriously damaged and a nearby road was damaged, county spokesman Dave Byron said.

"The house is virtually sitting in the hole," Byron said of the destroyed home.

There were no injuries. Power was shut off in the area, and the road was closed. Byron said the hole had stabilized within hours.

A woman and baby lived in the home that was destroyed, Byron said. They fled before the house sank into the ground.

"She was home at the time getting ready to feed the baby, heard a loud thud and knew she had a problem," Byron said.

A couple in the other home also got out in time. The west side of their home sank into the ground, Byron said.

This is the second large sinkhole to open in Volusia County in less than two months. A 160-foot-wide hole swallowed four lanes of a Deltona road feeding a nearby interstate and cracked the walls and floor at a neighboring house in December. The hole has been filled, but the road remains closed.

Sinkholes are a common geologic phenomenon in Central Florida. They form when the dome above underground caverns, created by erosion, cracks. About 500 mostly small sinkholes open up each year in Florida.

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