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Hole opens under driveway near Holiday, swallows car

HOLIDAY — A hole opened Monday morning under a driveway just outside a mobile home, swallowing a Hyundai sedan and threatening neighboring homes.

Pasco County officials were classifying the hole at 1728 Torch St. in the mobile home park near Holiday as a depression or subsurface anomaly — not a sinkhole — until engineers complete a preliminary assessment of what caused it to form. But building inspectors condemned the home on the brink of the hole and neighbors from five nearby homes were evacuated until the ground was declared to be stable.

The first call about the hole was at 10:45 a.m., said county spokesman Doug Tobin. When fire-rescue crews arrived, the depression was about 4 feet wide and 4 feet deep. Only the tire of the car was on the edge of the hole.

But within 15 minutes, Tobin said, the hole had more than doubled in size and the car had tumbled in nose-first. The trunk and back tires were still sticking out past the rim of the depression Monday afternoon, and the hole had grown to an estimated 10 feet wide and 10 feet deep.

In all, six families were displaced. The Red Cross was helping them find shelter Monday.

The driveway is private property, Tobin said, so the landowner is responsible for the costs of surveying and fixing the hole.

The company listed in property records as the landowner could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

A neighbor, Meryl Parkton, 65, said she first noticed emergency vehicles pulling up to the neighborhood about 11 a.m. Parkton, who lives down the street from the hole, said soon there were "emergency management — two trucks parked in my driveway — police cars, (and) every newscaster imaginable" nearby.

"I'm panicking because this is my home," she said, adding that she has a few indoor cats to worry about, too. "If they evacuate me, I'm thinking, where do I go with all my cats?"

Parkton said she was home sick Monday and could see much of the commotion from her window.

"I guess it's going to be like this the rest of the day," she said. "Talk about living in a fishbowl."

Pasco County is working on a sewer lift station near the property, but Tobin said no evidence yet existed to suggest the work caused the hole to form.

Contact Zachary T. Sampson at (727) 893-8804 or Follow @zacksampson.