Sinkhole swallows home, forces evacuations in land o’lakes neighborhood weight gain due to hormonal imbalance

What began as a small depression under a boat parked in the front yard next to Villa’s burnt-orange Ocean Pines Drive rental home quickly grew to a behemoth pit. It destroyed one home and nearly swallowed Villa’s, and prompted the county to declare at least 11 others unsafe. From the air, the neighborhood looked unrecognizable: streets lined with TV trucks, the area inside the sinkhole the color of a clay tennis court.

Pasco County Fire Rescue crews were called to Lake Padgett Estates at 7:21 a.m. after someone noticed that a boat parked in the yard of 21835 Ocean Pines Drive was sinking into the ground, Division Chief Shawn Whited said. By the time crews arrived to the home at 7:30 a.m., the depression had swallowed part of the boat. Within an hour, the house had partially collapsed.

Dramatic video shows the first home collapsing into the hole, roiling muddy water inside it. In live footage shot by circling news helicopters, chunks of earth at the western edge of the hole could be seen falling away and splashing into the water, slowly consuming the front yard of a house across the street.

Drone footage showed a boat bobbing in the water-filled pit. The earth opened up to the aquifer below, Guthrie said, which explains its pond-like characteristics. A typical sinkhole would have begun to drain by now, he said, but debris has prevented it from doing so.

Duke Energy cut power to about 100 homes in the neighborhood east of U.S. 41 and north of State Road 54, though power was restored Friday afternoon. Officials said the county plans to install a temporary fence around the sinkhole’s perimeter.

Property records show Walter Zadanoff, who lives in Lutz, purchased the 2,200-square-foot, single-story home in July 2015 for $157,000. Property records list sinkhole activity on the property as stabilized and the current value of the home at $195,092. Zadanoff could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.

Maykel Pedraza-Castillo and Yhosvany Marrero-Martinez of Tampa have owned the second home where Villa lives since 2006, records show. The current value of the 1,300-square-foot single story home is listed at $130,163. Attempts to reach the owners for comment were unsuccessful Friday.

Officials said the sinkhole might also damage the home across the street from 21835 Ocean Pines Drive. That’s where Terence and Tisha Doohen, both 44, live with their 10-year-old son, Isaac. Terence Doohen said he was leaving for work at a lawn care company at around 7:30 a.m. when he noticed that the house across from his just didn’t look right.

Affected residents piled their belongings into cars and rushed out of the neighborhood Friday morning. Joy Benson of Land O’ Lakes lugged photos and small pieces of furniture out of her aunt’s home, one of the 11 deemed unsafe. Her aunt, Lynne Dudley, was in California at the time, attending a memorial for her husband, local singer-songwriter Timothy Dudley. He died in November.

Emergency workers told them they can expect to be away from their house for months. She said they will have to work with their insurance company to see if they can make the home safe, but she doesn’t know if they will return. In the meantime, they will stay with her in-laws. Others have offered clothing and other help.

Only Edilia Villa was home Friday morning when Thalia — who had been out doing early morning errands with the rest of the family — rushed into her mom’s bedroom. The next-door neighbor’s boat had sunk into the ground, she said. The two began rushing around, gathering a few important documents and their six dogs, and were out of the house in 10 minutes. They are staying with Villa’s son.