By Tamas Mondovics
Jennifer Torres, 26, and her family had just two hours to grab what they could and get out after a giant sinkhole measuring 22 ft. wide and 27 ft. deep had opened up between her home at 5205 Peach Ave. and a duplex at 5206 Bogdonoff Dr. off Clay Pit Rd. in Seffner.
Both structures were evacuated and the two families have not been permitted to return since.
Three days later the hole that nearly swallowed a chain-link fence grew in size to measure 30 ft. deep and 28 ft. across, but it now reportedly appears to be stable.
Sinkholes may be a part of life in east Hillsborough County, but for some living in the area, this scenario has played out one too many times.
It has been a little more than two years since a sinkhole at 240 Faithway Dr., just two miles away, made headlines after it opened under the bedroom of Jeffery Bush and swallowed everything in the room shortly after he turned in for the night. Jeffery’s body was never recovered.
Once again stirring up the community, the same sinkhole has since opened up again at the exact same spot in August, measuring 20 ft. deep by 17 ft. wide and, although officials told area residents that the reopening was expected, the community was understandably concerned. It was filled in again by Hillsborough County public works.
The most recent sinkhole, near the Torres home however, only confirmed residents’ concerns and many of whom aren’t waiting around for their turn on the news.
Hillsborough Assistant County Administrator for Code Enforcement Dexter Barge said county crews will monitor the hole.
“As far as the county is concerned our primary concern is to make sure that the public is safe, and to monitor the situation,” Barge said.
According to county spokesperson Michelle VanDyke, since the hole opened on private property, the homeowners are handling the remediation through their property insurance company.
“Out of concern for the safety of the residents, Hillsborough County issued a notice to vacate the two homes and continues to monitor the situation,” she said. “Once the remediation is complete, a structural engineer will re-assess the homes and determine whether they can be occupied again.”
For more information, visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org.