• Engineers: Sinkhole may have stopped growing


    WINDERMERE, Fla. - Two families were forced to move after a massive 100-foot-wide and 50-foot-deep sinkhole threatened their homes in Winderemere.

    The sinkhole opened up Thursday morning in the Summerport subdivision in Windermere, and crept closer to the home overnight.

    WFTV asked two geo-tech engineers to take a look at the sinkhole, which they measured to be about 60 feet wide.

    The engineers said they believe it is finished growing.

    "There still may be some horizontal movement, but as far as vertical, I think it's done," said Dan Stanfill of Geotechnical and Environmental Consultants.

    It will be up to the homeowner's insurance company on how the issue will be fixed.

    But engineers said they will likely use ground radar to find where there are open pockets, and then fill those holes with concrete.

    "We'd need to do some ground penetrating radar to see if there is anything else going on. If we think there is, then grouting would have to be done in those areas to seal off any conduits," said Stanfill.

    The sinkhole has already swallowed four trees, and a fifth tree is still teetering on the edge.
    Lou Lambros, who was renting one of the homes, said they were searching for a new rental house to move into. They had only been renting the Windermere home for two months.

    The Lamnros' are moving on with a smile, and said they were laughing at their own "sinkhole de Mayo."

    "You know, I come from a family that loves to make jokes, otherwise you'd go crazy," said Lambros.

    The home had slight cracking in the stucco.

    However, once the hole is filled, the home could be back on the market.

    "What can you say? There's a 50-foot hole in your backyard where your kids used to play," said Lambros. "When we came outside, it was just dropping into the hole. We said 'Get the kids,' and it was like a mini avalanche inside there."

    Brian Denis lives next door to Lambros, and his family also had to evacuate.

    "My wife comes in and says 'You got to look at this' so I get up, and I am like, 'Oh great, a great way to start the day,'" said Denis. "To me, as long as we don't lose anything, I am happy."

    Because both families were renting the houses, the owner's insurance will have to pay for the hole to be filled in.

    Florida is no stranger to sinkholes. It has more than any state in the country.

    Firefighters are guarding the sinkhole for safety, but it's up to the homeowner's insurance policy to fix it.

    "There's nothing you can do. I'm thankful no one was hurt. That's the main thing," said Lambros.

    The Lambros family has to get permission from the fire department and building officials before they can go inside the home to remove any of their things.


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