SPRING HILL — A home on the edge of a sinkhole that opened in Spring Hill was declared unsafe Monday and the homeowner was given until Tuesday morning to remove her belongings, according to Hernando County officials.
Linda Fisher, who owns the home at 9759 Eldridge Road, was working into the evening to pack her possessions as contractors worked to fill the hole that opened on her street Saturday evening and swallowed her driveway and part of her front yard as it expanded.
There were no plans to destroy the home, said Hernando County spokeswoman Virginia Singer, but Fisher said she thinks her house will be condemned.
Though she was short on packing materials for the surprise move she remained optimistic.
“It doesn’t make any difference, I’ve got to get it out,” said Fisher, who has lived in the home for about 1 1⁄2 years. “I’m alive and well. I’m good. All you can do is go forward. I’m a little speck on the earth and this is nothing compared to what’s going on in the rest of the world.”
Inside the home, she said there were cracks forming and bugs were starting to come in through the holes. She planned to stay in a local motel until she could figure out what to do.
Hernando County hired a contractor to remove road debris, including chunks of pavement that had dropped into the void.
The contractors then started filling the hole Monday with a mixture of concrete and sand, Singer said.
On Tuesday, a geo-technical consultant was to arrive in the morning and determine the next steps to repair the sinkhole.
Meanwhile, work crews shut off the water main in the area so heavy trucks would not damage the underground pipe. About 20 homes were without water for up to two hours during that process, Singer said.
An estimate for repairs to the site was not available, Singer said.
The size of the sinkhole, which grew to roughly 40 yards wide and 30 feet deep on Sunday, had not gotten any bigger by Monday afternoon.
Earlier Monday, residents who live nearby were hoping it wouldn’t expand and swallow their homes.
Some gathered in the street on Eldridge Road to take note of any new cracks that formed overnight.
Peggy Helmick who lives in a home on the east side of Eldridge, directly south of the sinkhole, said she was ready if emergency responders knocked on her door and told her to leave.
She gathered all of her vital records, jewelry and keepsakes and moved her car down the street.
“If they knock on my door, I grab my dog, grab my belongings and I’m out of here,” Helmick said. “If that (house) goes it’s a material thing. I can walk out of my house. I’m alive, I’m healthy, I can live again.”
Sam Haneiwich watched Saturday night as the sinkhole started and slowly got worse and worse. About 30 minutes after it formed, he watched his neighbor’s driveway being swallowed, he said.
“Then there was a cloud of smoke and a muffled thud and the next thing I know there was a big hole in the yard,” Haneiwich said. “The first night I did not sleep well. I was worried they would come knocking on my door saying we had to go.”
He was looking forward to things getting back to normal.
“It was a nice and quiet neighborhood and then all this happened,” Haneiwich said. “I should have sold tickets. I would have gotten rich.”