A sinkhole's impact on one family - WFLA News Channel 8

A sinkhole's impact on one family

Posted: Updated:
TARPON SPRINGS, FL (WFLA) -

Several stories here of late show when Florida's soil shifts, so do the lives around it - even years down the road. In March, there was the Seffner sinkhole that swallowed a man and killed him as he slept and just last week, another one took down part of a resort in Clermont.

But surviving a sinkhole is just the first part of the collapse that happens around families, both emotional and financial. Virginia Crawford, now 87, and her husband Nathaniel, 93, know all too well how trying the time can be.

"I'm thankful to God to keep me and my husband strong at the loss we had lost," Virginia said as she sat in her home, which is now in Holiday.

It was two years ago when the ground shifted in the back yard of their Tarpon Springs home, taking down a washroom about the size of a two-car garage. After the family evacuated the house, they noticed the soil was shifting in the front yard too. It wasn't long before another hole opened up there as well.

"I said, ‘God that's a traveling sinkhole'," Virginia remembers. "I never seen anything like that before."

Engineers determined what happened around the family's home on Disston Avenue was a catastrophic ground cover collapse.

"Next time if I had to go through that all over again - before I do anything ... I'd get me an attorney," said Earnest Crawford, Virginia's son.

Earnest says his parents received a check from their insurance company, but it didn't even come close to the expenses they were racking up. Adding to the hassle was trying to declare a value for everything in the house where they'd lived for about 60 years.

"Get a picture on everything you have in your house," Earnest suggested to other homeowners. "Get a name for everything you have on your property."

The proof of how complicated these things can get is still near Disston Avenue. The house is sitting exactly where it was two years ago. Money went to the new house and expenses and the family says it can't scrap up the $60,000 or so it would take to stabilize the old property and tear down the old house.

For now, Virginia and Nathaniel, who raised three generations in that house, have come to a realization.

"{We} Know that it was lost and gone and it wouldn't be peace no more there," Virginia said.

According to the website of Jeff Atwater:

  • Florida law requires authorized insurers to cover "catastrophic ground cover collapse," but damage caused by a sinkhole may not be covered by your policy.
  • That's because the law defines catastrophic ground cover collapse differently from sinkholes.
  • Florida law defines a sinkhole as "a land form created by subsidence of soil, sediment, or rock as underlying strata are dissolved by groundwater. A sinkhole may form by collapse into subterranean voids created by dissolution (the dissolving) of limestone or dolostone or by the subsidence as these strata are dissolved."
  • "Catastrophic ground cover collapse" is defined as "geological activity that results in all of the following: 1). The abrupt collapse of the ground cover; 2). A depression in the ground cover clearly visible to the naked eye; 3). Structural damage to the building including the foundation; and 4). The insured structure being condemned and ordered to be vacated by the government agency authorized by law to issue such an order for that structure."
  • This means that if your home is damaged by sinkhole activity, but does not meet all four criteria for catastrophic ground cover collapse - for instance, you may have foundation cracks, but the home is still livable - your insurance may not pay for the damage if you do not have sinkhole coverage.
  • All insurance companies licensed to do business must offer sinkhole coverage, usually as an addendum or rider to an existing policy, and for an additional premium charge.
  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Woman says she bought tainted Hostess donettes at Sarasota gas station

    Woman says she bought tainted Hostess donettes at Sarasota gas station

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:33 PM EDT2014-08-01 21:33:29 GMT
    Everyone loves a good donut. But not the ones Jena Slinkard bought Thursday night at gas station in Sarasota. She just wanted a yummy, powdered donut late at night. So she bought a few packs, but when she bit into her normal favorite, Hostess Donettes, she spit it right out.
    Everyone loves a good donut. But not the ones Jena Slinkard bought Thursday night at gas station in Sarasota. She just wanted a yummy, powdered donut late at night. So she bought a few packs, but when she bit into her normal favorite, Hostess Donettes, she spit it right out.
  • Back-to-School Tax-free Holiday is here

    Back-to-School Tax-free Holiday is here

    Friday, August 1 2014 11:37 AM EDT2014-08-01 15:37:09 GMT
    It's almost time to head back to school and that means it's time to shop.
    It's almost time to head back to school and that means it's time to shop.
  • Tampa Bay woman feels ripped off, pays $61 for coins worth $1.50

    Tampa Bay woman feels ripped off, pays $61 for coins worth $1.50

    Thursday, July 31 2014 6:10 PM EDT2014-07-31 22:10:55 GMT
    Vickie McInnis responded to a newspaper ad promising a chance to buy old, rarely-seen coins.Vickie McInnis responded to a newspaper ad promising a chance to buy old, rarely-seen coins.
    Vickie McInnis responded to a newspaper ad promising a chance to buy old, rarely-seen coins that have been sitting in a bank vault for years.With shipping, she paid $61.43. But, here's what she received: a bag of about 100 pennies, worth at most: $1.50.
    Vickie McInnis responded to a newspaper ad promising a chance to buy old, rarely-seen coins that have been sitting in a bank vault for years.With shipping, she paid $61.43. But, here's what she received: a bag of about 100 pennies, worth at most: $1.50.
  • NewsMore>>

  • No love for Lyft in the Tampa Bay area?

    No love for Lyft in the Tampa Bay area?

    Friday, August 1 2014 6:27 PM EDT2014-08-01 22:27:16 GMT
    Kevin Ludig feels like a rock star – he loves his job at Lyft that much.“You know I keep telling people I feel like a rock star because everyone keeps talking about what I do,” joked Kevin in his sleek Mercury MKS Hybrid. “I love this job.”Kevin uses his life at Lyft as a supplement to his work in solar panel sales.
    Kevin Ludig feels like a rock star – he loves his job at Lyft that much.“You know I keep telling people I feel like a rock star because everyone keeps talking about what I do,” joked Kevin in his sleek Mercury MKS Hybrid. “I love this job.”Kevin uses his life at Lyft as a supplement to his work in solar panel sales.
  • Cities not interested in joining combined 911 center in Pinellas County

    Cities not interested in joining combined 911 center in Pinellas County

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:42 PM EDT2014-08-01 21:42:56 GMT
    Thursday Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told county commissioners and others attending a tour of his new Public Safety Complex that "it's time [for Clearwater, Largo, Pinellas Park and Tarpon Springs] to stop the nonsense" and combine their police dispatch operations with the new 911 center located inside his headquarters.
    Thursday Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told county commissioners and others attending a tour of his new Public Safety Complex that "it's time [for Clearwater, Largo, Pinellas Park and Tarpon Springs] to stop the nonsense" and combine their police dispatch operations with the new 911 center located inside his headquarters.
  • Woman says she bought tainted Hostess donettes at Sarasota gas station

    Woman says she bought tainted Hostess donettes at Sarasota gas station

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:33 PM EDT2014-08-01 21:33:29 GMT
    Everyone loves a good donut. But not the ones Jena Slinkard bought Thursday night at gas station in Sarasota. She just wanted a yummy, powdered donut late at night. So she bought a few packs, but when she bit into her normal favorite, Hostess Donettes, she spit it right out.
    Everyone loves a good donut. But not the ones Jena Slinkard bought Thursday night at gas station in Sarasota. She just wanted a yummy, powdered donut late at night. So she bought a few packs, but when she bit into her normal favorite, Hostess Donettes, she spit it right out.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.