The earth opened Wednesday night and gobbled up Rodrigo Coronado's bathroom.

On Thursday, it took his refrigerator.

It swallowed his furniture, clothing and 2-year-old son's toys. From time to time, it threatened to take more -- evident by the creaking walls.

"It felt like an explosion," Coronado said from the sidewalk outside the ranch-style home in the Errol Estate community. A look of uncertainty washed over his face.

The gaping hole, which doubled to 30 feet in width during the day, was blamed on a sinkhole -- a frequent natural threat in Central Florida. Sinkholes open unannounced and have been known to wipe out homes and businesses.

It was 7:30 p.m. Wednesday when the sound rocked Coronado's home, where the family had lived for six months. As family members crept toward the master bedroom, they realized the magnitude of the damage.

"The whole bathroom was in the ground," Coronado, 24, said in Spanish.

He quickly called for his nine family members to leave. They did not pause to collect any belongings. And from the front yard, they called the landlord's broker, who arrived later in the evening.

"I said, 'Oh, my God.' I've only seen this on TV," broker Shirley Chen said.

Coronado said Chen promised that the owners -- listed in property records as Lu Chun Sheng and Lu Rui Rui -- would be there at 9 a.m. Thursday, but no one showed by midday. Chen said that wasn't possible because the owner was in Miami and traveling to the home late Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Apopka Fire Department attempted to save some of the family's belongings. Firefighters hauled out mattresses, appliances, a couch and toys. They piled the items in the front yard and covered them with tarps until Coronado could find a place to store them. The Fire Department surrounded the home with crime-scene tape and stood guard outside.

By Thursday afternoon, Coronado and a team of friends loaded trucks, cars and vans with his possessions. His son, blissfully unable to understand what had happened, clutched a stuffed animal and hopped on a mattress in the driveway.

From early morning to afternoon, the sinkhole doubled in size. Fire Department Lt. R.L. Colina estimated it to be 20 to 25 feet deep -- massive enough to engulf the refrigerator and leave no sign of it.

The four-bedroom, two-bathroom home was built in 2006 on Errol Parkway -- in the same neighborhood where a similar-sized sinkhole devoured a roadway near the Errol Estate Country Club in March.

But sinkholes are nothing new for Central Florida.

Much of the state's earth is made of limestone, which dissolves easily from rainwater and groundwater that tend to be slightly acidic, said Tom Scott, assistant state geologist for the Florida Geological Survey.

As this happens, small cavities form beneath the surface. Eventually, the earth isn't strong enough to hold up what is above ground.

Sinkholes tend to happen in times of drought that are followed by rain, Scott added.

One of the area's most famous sinkholes happened in 1981 in Winter Park. The hole was estimated to be 320 feet wide and 90 feet deep. It took out a car dealership, a house, public pool and part of a road.

In January, residents of eight Altamonte Springs condos fled their homes because of a sinkhole. Officials deemed their units, near the intersection of Maitland Boulevard and State Road 434, unsafe.

At the home in Apopka on Thursday, a building inspector did the same. He documented the extensive damage and surveyed the property. Colina said there was some concern for one of the neighbor's homes as the hole continued to grow. The home to the opposite side was vacant.

"I want to talk to [the broker] and see what to do next," Coronado said, even debating whether to pay next month's rent. "I feel bad for my family."

Chen, the broker, said she doesn't know what the owner will do for the family, if anything.

"Nobody knows what to do at this time," Chen said.

The Red Cross is providing the family with money for food and clothes. Coronado said his family will live with a cousin temporarily. The family did not have renter's insurance, he said.