A 100-foot wide sinkhole opened up directly under a house in the town of Seffner, Florida, last night, nearly killing two brothers and forcing authorities to evacuate the entire neighborhood. One of the brothers, a 36-year-old man, is missing and presumed dead, but firefighters have been unable to fully investigate because the house itself is deemed too unsafe to be inside. The hole underneath the house is estimated to be more than 100 feet wide, but it is not visible from outside the house.
The other brother told rescuers that he heard screams coming from his brother's bedroom around 11:00 p.m. last night, but by the time he got to the room, the bed and everything in it had been swallowed up by the ground caving in beneath it. He tried to rescue his brother, but firefighters eventually had to pull the brother back from the edge of the sinkhole, which continued to grow and threatens to bring down the entire house. Even some of the monitoring equipment to search for the missing man was lost inside the hole. Authorities are bringing in more engineers on Friday to assess the damage and determine just how big the sinkhole might actually be beneath the ground.
Update (9:55 a.m.): Authorities have just given up an update on the sinkhole situation. They've clarified some details about the size of the hole, saying its about 30 feet in diamater and 20 feet deep, but expanding. The 100-foot figure was the size of the "safe zone," meaning the ground int hat area is "disturbed," but not yet collapsed. The entire footprint of the hole is contained inside the house, but the inspectors say it has taken up most of the interior space.
As for the victim, there have no signs of life since last night, but they are still trying to determine where he might be and if there's a chance he's still alive.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.