Giant sinkhole opens at Florida mobile home park

Giant sinkhole opens at Florida mobile home park
Anwar El Khouri, 74, has lived in a mobile home in Florida for 11 years. Tuesday, a 50-foot sinkhole opened up in his front yard.

El Khouri says he's worried about losing his home as loose dirt continues to fall from the walls of the sinkhole in Tallahassee. His mobile home and another hang off the edge of the crater, which also swallowed a pine tree. Yellow tape with the words, "Fire Line Do Not Cross," creates a perimeter around the the crater.

El Khouri described how, a couple of days ago, he felt his trailer shake and he asked himself at the time: "Did the Earth change?"

He doesn't know why the hole opened.

"They tell me in Florida, it's like this," said El Khouri, adding he never saw one while living in Miami.


Victory Crosby, 61, a neighbor living roughly 200 yards away in the same Capital Circle Pines mobile home park, said a smaller, "pool-sized" sinkhole opened a few years ago near his own house. It has since been filled in.

He said his biggest question, seeing the new hole, is how they happen.

"It's unbelievable to me," he said.

Sinkholes are most often natural occurrences, especially in places such as Florida with limestone or ground easily dissolved by water, according to the U.S. Geological Survey . They can be dramatic, such as with El Khouri's front yard, or happen over time. They can also be "human-induced" through construction and groundwater pumping, the USGS says.

The Tallahassee Police Department responded to reports of the sinkhole Tuesday, and evacuated "several" homes.

"We are really glad no one was injured and our thoughts are with the families," the department wrote on Twitter. A spokesman added that fixing the sinkhole is not in the department's jurisdiction.

Deputy Chief Richard Jones of the Tallahassee Fire Department said authorities would continue to "monitor" the sinkhole until the Environmental Protection Agency can evaluate it. Then it's up to the property owner and the EPA working together to figure out next steps.

Source: Tallahassee Democrat