• Several sinkholes open in The Villages, threatening two homes

    By: Kelly Healey , Myrt Price

    Updated:

    MARION COUNTY, Fla. - Several sinkholes opened in The Villages Thursday, threatening several homes, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said.  

    Four homes on McLawren Terrace have been evacuated.

    Officials said the largest of the three holes is 35 feet deep and 18 feet wide. 

    One of the sinkholes that opened up is outside Frank Newman’s home.

    He said he heard strange sounds and wasn’t sure what was going on.

    “At about 12:30 I was watching the Olympics when I heard something that I thought was thunder,” Newman said.

    Hours later, he found out what was actually going on.

    “My front door bell rings about 3:10. It was a policeman saying, ‘You got to get out of your house,’” Newman said.

    Marion County Emergency Management was also at the scene on SE 79th McLawren Terrace and said that utilities to the four closest homes have been disconnected as a precaution.

     

    The sinkholes reach underneath two of the homes.

     

    Photos: Sinkholes open in Villages neighborhood


    Cracks formed outside Newman’s neighbor’s home and a hole opened up near her front door.

    “In her house, she is seeing cracks inside the house on the floor and stuff,” Newman said. “She can’t get her car out of the garage because the garage door won’t open.”

    Signs have been placed outside some of the homes warning the houses have been condemned.

    Golf course officials are draining a lake to help the situation. Utilities officials said that if a water main break occurs, they will be able to handle it, but 20 homes could potentially lose water service if that happens.

    Residents were allowed to briefly return to their homes to pick up some belongings.

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