20-foot-deep sinkhole opens up behind Orange County home

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A homeowner said she is staying put after a sinkhole opened up in the back yard of her Orange County home, sucking in several trees, part of a pool and all the water in it, near Winter Park Monday evening.

The sinkhole opened up near Wymore Road in the 2300 block of Roxbury Road. Inspectors had returned to the neighborhood Tuesday morning to see if the sinkhole has stabilized.

The hole is no longer contained just to the property where it started. The hole is beginning to swallow the back yard and a fence in a neighboring house.

The Building Department has told homeowner Susie Blumenauer she has to go.

Blumenauer was on the phone with her friend when she saw it Monday night.

"I said, 'Karen, I have a sinkhole in the back yard,'" said Blumenauer. "I think I might be dreaming. I didn't know what to think, [and] then I realized there's a hole in the ground."

A battalion chief said the hole was about 20 feet deep and 50 feet across.

There weren't any mandatory evacuations at the time, but Blumenauer decided to leave Monday anyway. Neighbors helped her get some belongings out of her house, just in case the hole spread closer to the home.

Part of the street was blocked off as crews tried to assess the damage, but the darkness didn't help.

"That's crazy. I can't, it's like, wow. You hear about it everywhere else," said neighbor Robert Jones.

Fire crews said they do not believe the sinkhole would impact water or electricity services in the area.

James Russo lives across the street and said he wants answers, too. Orange County Building Department said only Blumenauer's house it at risk, but neighbors aren't convinced.

Building inspector Bob Amato said he has never seen a sinkhole in the neighborhood but he's not surprised it happened.

"We're in Florida. These things happen in Florida. You get cavities in the ground," Amato said.

A more thorough explanation will come when engineers visit the property. So far, there's been no sign of them.

"No one has told me anything … and I have no idea where I stand, where my safety stands, so it makes me nervous," Russo said.

The homes next door and directly behind Blumenauer's are vacant so only Blumenauer has been told to go.

What happens next will be decided by the engineers who will examine the hole. WFTV was told it has being arranged by the homeowner's insurance company.