Sinkhole forces elderly couple from Polk home



POLK COUNTY, Fla. - An elderly Polk County couple who thought they had a puddle under their home found out things were much worse when a sinkhole developed last week.

Amazingly, the 15-foot-wide sinkhole opened up right underneath the Burr Road mobile home without damaging the structure, but the residents had to evacuate quickly.

Norma Pagan said her mother, father-in-law and nephew live in the home. She said the sinkhole happened Wednesday night, but that the family didn’t notice the hole until the next morning.

"They heard a big noise but they thought that it was my husband, because he was wrestling with the kids and whatever," Pagan said.

The next morning, daylight revealed the real cause, and the family grabbed some essentials and left the home. The Red Cross provided hotel rooms until Monday.

County engineers have examined the 17-foot-deep hole but don't know what to do about it yet. Authorities said it’s possible the hole could be filled with cement or the mobile home could be moved.

Pagan said her father-in-law has a number of medical conditions that complicate living arrangements.

“For medical reasons, he needs a stable place to stay,” she said.  ”He can't be going from a hotel to here and there.”

So far, the hole hasn’t grown, but engineers are still monitoring it.