LAND O’LAKES, Fla. (NBC) – Florida officials have condemned the seventh home due to last month’s massive sinkhole in Pasco County.
Three weeks ago two homes, cars, and boats were swallowed up by a sinkhole on Ocean Pines drive. The sinkhole now stretches about 260 feet (79 meters) at its widest point.
“Do we think we have an active sinkhole? I’m going to say right now the answer is ‘no,'” says Kevin Guthrie, Assistant County Administrator for Public Safety.
But sections continued to collapse Thursday, and contractors were forced to stop working in the area.
Officials say the heavy equipment brought in to pump out water and remove debris may have been the cause of the collapse.
That equipment cannot be within 20 to 30 feet of the hole.
Crews now plan to bring in crushed lime rock and boulders, build a ramp into the hole, and bring in a small barge to remove the debris.
“We’ve gotta get the debris out of there,” says Guthrie. “We’ve gotta get the water decontaminated.”
Their ultimate goal is to stabilize as much as they can.
The original plan was set to be completed within two to four weeks, but the process will now take additional time.
To make sure there is no movement, the land surrounding the sinkhole will be tested with ground penetrating radar.
“We don’t want anybody to get hurt and we do not want to have to evacuate any more homes,” says Guthrie.
Two homes were destroyed when the sinkhole initially opened, followed by the two on Friday, two on Sunday, and one today.