Neighborhood on edge as another sinkhole opens in Seffner - FOX 13 News

Neighborhood on edge as another sinkhole opens in Seffner

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SEFFNER (FOX 13) -

Another sinkhole has appeared in Seffner.

It is at the 1200 block of Cedar Tree lane, about two miles from the one that opened up under a home last week, killing a man inside.

"This is a shock, a real shock," said Christian Diaz. "I'm surprised that this happened, especially so close, over here."

"I looked at it, it looks like a depression to me," said Willie Puz with Hillsborough County. "But it was reported as a sinkhole."

It sits between two homes on Cedar Tree Lane.

"It's about 12-foot around. On each of the sides, it's about 3 feet deep. In the center it was about 5 feet deep," Puz said.

"Ten years ago, I have the knowledge," said homeowner Anna Maria Serna, who had a sinkhole inspection done when she bought the house back in 2003.

But now the house is up for a short sale and Serna is on the hook for mitigating the sinkhole.

"We talked to an engineering expert who has been working with us at the other site, and he confirmed that these two sites are not connected," Puz said.

But there is a fearful thread that strings both events together.  It's the proverbial, "monster under the bed" for more people who still can't believe what's happened.

"Oh God, it's scary, you never know what could happen," said Katia Varga. "See it happened to that man? It happened to our neighbor; it could happen to anyone. You got to watch out and be safe."

Varga lives just two doors down.  Her family has been told they're allowed to stay in their homes, but they're too worried.

"So, we're just going to stay at a hotel for now and see what we can do," she said.

The people who live next door also chose to stay the night elsewhere.

"A collapsed sinkhole is far, far less likely to occur than a subsidence sinkhole," said Larry Madrid, who is President at Madrid Engineering. 

He helped assist the county on the first and deadly sinkhole in determining what they were dealing with.

Madrid is a geotechnical engineer. He made a diagram of what the soil might look like at the first sinkhole.  What happened there, he said, was unprecedented.  

"Not anything that I'm aware of," said Madrid, still incredulous. "And I've been looking for sinkholes as a profession basically for the last 20 years."

The majority of sinkholes in Florida are subsidence sinkholes.

"And when you get below the water table, the soil just wants to slough into the hole because the water has lubricated those particles," said Madrid.

He likened what happened on Faithway Drive to an hourglass, with sand at the top, clay in the middle and then limestone on the bottom layer. The problem, he said, was most likely a void in the limestone layer.

"At the surface, you start to see a depression forming. And that depression is what we call subsidence," Madrid said. "It happens slowly over time, and so there's time for us to react."

At least neighbors on Cedar Tree Lane have time on their side – for now.

"From a risk standpoint, you're far more likely to get hit by lightning, and that's, we know, a remote thing," said Madrid.

County officials are expected at first light Tuesday to assess the situation.

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