APOPKA, Fla. - A family escaped their Apopka home hours before a possible sinkhole swallowed up a portion of the house, officials with Orange County Fire Rescue said.
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Emergency crews were called at 8:22 a.m. Tuesday to a home on West Kelly Park Road in Apopka. The family said they began noticing the depression before 7 p.m. Monday.
"I saw big, deep cracks in the bathroom. The tub was sinking and the window was coming loose, and I said, 'It's time to go,'" said homeowner Ellen Miller.
The family told Channel 9’s Angela Jacobs they grabbed everything they could and moved it to the front lawn before their home crumbled into the 25 by 15 foot hole.
"We made it through the hurricane. We were really, really lucky, and then this," Miller said. "This is the only home I know. It's the only home my kids know."
The Millers will stay with their daughter next door while they figure out their next step.
Although it’s not known if the sinkhole is related to Hurricane Irma, experts said sinkholes aren’t uncommon after hurricanes.
“When you have heavy rains, the chances of sinkholes up quite a bit,” said Dr. Manoj Chopra, a UCF engineering professor.
He said sinkholes can form when the rain and flood water the rain and flood water caused by hurricanes start to recede.
Sinkholes can happen suddenly. Miller said the hole under her home formed in a matter of hours.
“We watched it all night and it got bigger and deeper and finally, at 4 in the morning, I saw big deep cracks in the bathroom,” she said. “The tub was sinking and the window was coming loose and I said, ‘It’s time to go.’”
Chopra expects more sinkholes to form throughout the state.
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