OCALA, Fla. — A massive sinkhole is threatening homes in an Ocala neighborhood Thursday.
Marion County Fire Rescue officials said the hole opened up Wednesday night. Crews said they don't know what came first: the water main break or the sinkhole.
"Unfortunately, there was no one standing there at the time. So, it's the whole chicken and the egg thing," said Interim Utilities Director Douglas Andrews.
The hole in the middle of the Oak Run neighborhood on Southwest 83rd Avenue initially measured about 20 feet by 30 feet, but has since grown to 20 feet by 50 feet.
The sinkhole has eaten up shrubs that were next to the porch of a nearby home.
Several houses were evacuated as a precaution.
Fire officials and Marion County Utilities crews are working to stabilize the 12-inch water main.
The ground collapsed underneath a home's foundation.
"I looked out and it just looked like a river going down the road, and I'm going, 'Oh my God,' said homeowner Paula Flinn.
Officials said the area was already prone to
sinkholes, and the broken water main under the road either sped up the opening of the hole or made it worse.
"We just proceeded to watch the hole get bigger and bigger, and water is gushing up out of there, and going down between those houses across the street," said
resident Richard Dally.
Four homes are without water, and the woman who lives closest to the hole said she can't go home.
Crews said they have no time frame as to when the hole will be fixed.