Dunedin sinkhole destroys 2 homes - WFLA News Channel 8

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Dunedin sinkhole destroys 2 homes

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Sinkhole in Dunedin Sinkhole in Dunedin
Michael Dupre and his daughter Ivy Michael Dupre and his daughter Ivy
Roof is about to fall in on a house near the sinkhole Roof is about to fall in on a house near the sinkhole
DUNEDIN, FL (WFLA) -

A sinkhole in Dunedin destroyed two homes on Thursday afternoon.

The sinkhole is more than 90 feet wide and more than 50 feet deep, the Dunedin Fire Rescue chief said.

The sinkhole, which has tripled in size since officials arrived on scene early Thursday morning, is behind and between homes on Robmar Road. Two homes have both been condemned and will be demolished, said chief Jeff Parks.  No one was injured.

Of the two condemned homes, one lost a porch and the other lost a bedroom. A boat that had been falling into the sinkhole was retrieved with the help of a backhoe. 

The owner of one of the houses, Michael Dupre, said his daughter heard some noise around 5 a.m. like someone was trying to break into the house. They thought it was an intruder, so Dupre grabbed his rifle and went to the back porch. He said he saw the screened-in porch sinking into the ground. He got his wife and daughter out of the house as the sinkhole was swallowing the backyard.

"Yeah, it was an intruder," Dupre said. "It came from the ground up."

The family lived in the house for about two years and noticed the cracks in the foundation before. Michael Dupre said he contacted his insurance company and went back and forth about the method to fix it, but last week a company started pumping grout under the house. 

Related content: Insurance company knew about Dunedin sinkhole for years


Five other homeowners have been told to sleep elsewhere for at least a night. One of those is Tegerdine family.  Matthew Tegerdine grabbed some essentials and packed them in a suitcase. He has many questions about the future.

"Are we ever going to be able to back in this house?  Will I be able to sleep there? Will my wife and my son be able to sleep there?  How safe is it?  Maybe somebody will give us some assurances, maybe that will help," said Tegerdine.

Related Content: Facts about Florida sinkholes

Part of the neighborhood has been taped off by local officials, but neighbors and media gathering at the edge of that zone can hear occasional crashes. Those noises are things falling into the sinkhole, Parks said.

By evening, fences were erected around the two homes that will be torn down.

Related content: USF professor says sinkholes are natural part of Fla. landscape

Sinkholes are common in Florida and the the Bay area. A sinkhole in Seffner opened up under a man's bedroom in March and swallowed him. Jeff Bush, 37, died in the hole and his body was never found.

Related story: Seffner sinkhole victim remembered as loving, caring


Another sinkhole swallowed a part of a vacation resort near Disney World but no one was injured.

Related story: Official: Fla. resort sinkhole not growing

According to a private engineering company and city officials who confirmed this was a sinkhole, the ground near the homes is really soft.  Dunedin's fire chief says officials checked out other reports of possible sinkholes around the affected homes, but they were only depressions, and not cause for concern.

Crews will begin knocking down the two damaged homes on Friday morning, and filling the hole with dirt. 

Janet McGuire with Tampa Bay Red Cross said a shelter for the affected families will open at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church at 705 Michigan Boulevard in Dunedin.

Related content:  Is your neighborhood prone to sinkholes?

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