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40-foot hole opens in ground between New Port Richey homes

Pasco County officials responded Wednesday morning to reports of a depression at 11439 Dorian Ct. in New Port Richey.  Courtesy Pasco County
Pasco County officials responded Wednesday morning to reports of a depression at 11439 Dorian Ct. in New Port Richey. Courtesy Pasco County
Published Sep. 5, 2018

NEW PORT RICHEY — A large hole that opened Tuesday night between two homes could be as long as 100 feet, county officials said Wednesday. But because it opened in private land, the county will take no further action.

"This is an insurance issue at this point," said Kevin Guthrie, the assistant county administrator for public safety.

The depression — which has not been deemed a sinkhole — is partially under one home on Dorian Court, in the gated River Ridge subdivision, and extends toward the home next door, according to a county spokesperson. County officials originally said the depression was 40 feet wide and 20 feet deep, but later said it could be as long as 100 feet if it connects to another depression at the site.

Pasco County building inspectors have declared both homes unsafe and have marked them with warning signs. Power has been disconnected from the houses. Residents are allowed to go back into the houses but have been advised not to, officials said. One went in to retrieve belongings.

Asked if the depression could pose a risk to any other homes, Guthrie said, "That's hard to say."

"Mother nature is mother nature," he added. "It's going to do what it's going to do."

One home's resident was at a doctor's appointment in Tampa when the hole opened up, and the other was out of state. County officials expect the residents' insurance companies to have a geotechnical engineer examine the homes, after which they'll be re-evaluated.

This is a developing story. Come back to tampabay.com for updates.

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