PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Seniors at a mobile home community in Zephyrhills reached out to 8 On Your Side this month with concerns about a dangerous hole on their property, saying their complaints had fallen on deaf ears.
The safety hazard was keeping residents at Forest Lake Estates up a night, so they reached out to 8 On Your Side Investigator Mahsa Saeidi for help.
“We’re stressed, we can’t sleep, we’re not used to this!” said Debra Westlotorn.
At first glance, the hole looks minor—a small opening at the end of Westlotorn family’s driveway.
8 On Your Side went to the property and dropped a camera and a tape measure down through the opening and found out it was 5 feet wide.
Westlotorn said one of her neighbors fell in the hole last month.
“Down she went!” she recalled. “One leg was down in the hole and the other leg wasn’t.”
According to residents, the community has history of issues with holes.
“I’m disgusted that they can’t fix this problem,” Robert Cockcroft said.
Cockcroft showed 8 On Your Side pictures of another hole that opened up in the area in 2019.
“About a year later, the hole started here,” he said.
Residents said the park’s managers were sending out maintenance staff to evaluate and fix the holes, instead of contractors who would be better able to address the issue.
They say they’re concerned about the structure of their homes and the safety of their neighbors.
“They’re not even keeping us informed as to when we’re going to get a contractor to come out here to assess the situation,” Westlotorn said.
“What we’re worried about is the sinking? Is the house going to sink?” Cockcroft wondered.
Last Tuesday, 8 On Your Side contacted Forest Lake Estates, detailing neighbors concerns.
About 24 hours after our call, Debra said the hole had been patched up.
In a statement released Tuesday, Forest Lake Estates denied any delays in fixing the hole. A spokeswoman said they’ve kept families notified and taken timely action.
Here is their full statement:
“We were notified of a hole that developed adjacent to the Westlotorns’ driveway on Dec. 21. After investigating the issue, our team contacted our vendors, and an initial service call took place the first week of January. Last week, a state licensed senior geotechnical engineer evaluated the area and concluded that the issue is caused by a leaking stormwater pipe, likely exacerbated by the discharge from the downspout on the Westlotorns’ home. The engineering review determined there is no evidence of a sink hole.
The repair of the stormwater pipe was completed following the engineering inspection. We provided status updates on the project to the Westlotorns on several occasions throughout this process.”
Now Debra says she hopes, this time, workers got to the bottom of the issue.