Sinkhole in Gainesville neighborhood evacuates 6 families

Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 11:11 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Thursday afternoon a sinkhole suddenly grew in size behind homes in NW Gainesville and now some residents are living on the edge, literally. This hole is not new. A number of homeowners said they have dealt with the sinkhole since Oct. 15 and now the problem has gotten much deeper.

“No one really has a plan, other than us and we don’t really even have a plan because we don’t know what to do next,” said home-owner Johnnie Candianl.

It was mid-afternoon when a tree fell into the sinkhole in the backyard of the Gainesville homes causing 6 families to evacuate their homes.

“And I can’t say that I’m not going to spread the sinkhole but that we don’t have anymore damage or anybody gets injured,” said Joanne Rice, the interim Fire Chief. “So if a home, we’re not going to be able to stop a sinkhole but we want to do is make sure no one else gets hurt, that we keep the area evacuated and that we bring the professionals in. Geologists and sinkhole experts to be able to look at the hole to see if it’s going to go home or if it’s done.”

Rain and gravity grew the gap to about 40-50 feet wide and thirty feet deep according to Chief Rice. A few nearby residents were told they could sleep in their homes but most don’t feel safe doing so and are left with questions for the city, GRU and the county.

“No one really providing really clear answers on what happens tomorrow and what happens the next day,” said Mathew Sebastian, a neighboring resident. “As far as we can tell it’s in a city easement as we discussed earlier. There was a gas line going right through the middle and again no one is.”

“Power line also was taken out today, pretty much we’ve been, all of us neighbors that have been involved in it, we’ve been in a group chat and we’ve all been working on it trying to figure out what to do next,” mentioned Candianl.

The homeowners add that they’ll be following up with the city of Gainesville’s liability adjuster to find out what’s next.

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