Florida families evacuated amid sinkhole scare miles from where man was swallowed

Rick Folbaum reports from New York


A Florida duplex three miles from where a 37-year-old man a month ago was swallowed by a sinkhole was evacuated Tuesday evening after the floor buckled and walls cracked.

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue crews responded to 911 call Tuesday evening. Officials say the soil was soft around the home. They recommended that the residents spend the night somewhere else.

The Tampa Bay Times reported a soil sampling crew will test the ground under the home Wednesday.

The American Red Cross assisted the families in finding a place to stay.

Jessica Alfaro, a resident, had a suspicion something was amiss. She said the living room in her family's apartment is sloping, creaking and rubbery, reported.

"If you were to touch it, it's going up and down and comes back up," she said.

Her wheelchair-bound father lives in the home with her, along with her brother, sister and newborn niece.

"She's like, 'does it sound like it's good?' I was like, no it doesn't. Once we sat down, so much noise started happening. I thought, this is crazy, I'm calling 911. They said it's time to get out," Alfaro said.

Fire crews checked it out and took every precaution before going inside. They put a ladder across the floor, and used rope to tether themselves to a telephone pole outside.

"The time is actually buckled up quite a bit," said Jessica Damico from Hillsborough County Fire Rescue. "It's not like a normal tile crack you would see. It's buckled up a few inches above the slab."

If confirmed, it would be the fourth sinkhole in the Seffner area in the past month -- including the one that swallowed Jeffrey Bush as he slept inside his home, reported.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report