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Pasco Tribune

Families evacuate after possible sinkhole found under Land O’ Lakes home

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Published:   |   Updated: December 19, 2013 at 06:06 PM

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LAND O’ LAKES — Banned from her home when an apparent sinkhole opened up under her living room, a Pasco woman said she’s counting her blessings that no one was hurt.

“It’s Christmas,” homeowner Kris Lock said. “I’m thankful my daughter got out. My dog’s out. We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to get back in the house in a few days.”

Two families were ordered to evacuate their houses in the Asbel Creek subdivision off U.S. 41. Thursday afternoon as a matter of precaution, Sheriff’s spokesman Doug Tobin said. “We want to make sure we err on the side of caution, especially after what happened earlier this year,” he said, referring to the deadly sinkhole that swallowed the occupant of a home in Hillsborough County.

It was terrifying ordeal for Lock’s 17-year-old daughter, who was home from school when several men started banging on the door.

“She was scared to death,” Lock said. “She called me, and I called 911. They were just trying to get her out of the house.”

Workers from Ram Jack foundation repair had been working on their next door neighbor’s house for about two weeks, injecting concrete into the ground — a process called “grouting” — when the 10-foot by 20-foot hole formed along the side of her home. The 6-foot deep hole extended under the house.

“That’s our living room,” Lock said. “It’s right under our Christmas tree.”

Lock said she arrived as both homes were being cordoned off with caution tape. She was allowed to retrieve her 13-year-old German Shepard, but nothing else.

“I could care less about my furnishings,” she said. “It’s the pictures of my kids on the wall and their birth certificates — things like that you worry about.”

One car remained in the driveway and another was in the garage. “We ran out without the keys,” Lock said. “But they didn’t want us to move them — anything that could destabilize it.”

Two hours later, the hole was bigger but the Lock’s house appeared to be no worse. There were no visible cracks on the side of the wall, and workers began filling the hole with a mix of sand and concrete. Neighbors looked on with trepidation.

“Most of these houses are fairly new,” neighbor Mike Demasi said. “We’ve only been in our house a couple of years.”

The Locks moved into their home four years ago. “I would have never thought this would happen,” Kris Lock said. “But it seems to be happening a lot recently. It’s shocking. You have this image of your house being sucked into something.”

lkinsler@tampatrib.com

(813) 371-1852

Twitter @LKinslerTBO

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