DUNEDIN -- Dunedin homeowner Michael Dupre said he thought it was a burglar.
Hearing noises outside his Robmar Road home early Thursday, Dupre awoke to find the back room of his home and boat sinking into the ground. He quickly realized his worst fear was happening: a sinkhole.
Emergency officials responded to the neighborhood and residents were evacuated from homes in the 1000 block of Robmar Road just before 6 a.m. Dunedin Fire Chief Jeff Parks confirmed the sinkhole.
The two homes on the immediate sides of the sinkhole are in the most danger. A swimming pool in the home next door has cracked. Parks said the sinkhole is in parts of two backyards. The ground there is so unstable that both homes will need to be demolished, Parks said.
Specialists and engineers were called to the scene. Officials said the hole appears to be growing and cracks and pops were heard throughout the morning.
No injuries have been reported.
Dupre said he had been concerned about sinkholes. In fact, Dupre said a sinkhole prevention company had been pouring grout into the home's foundation during the past two days.
Dupre said early Thursday morning he heard what sounded like a sledgehammer pounding on a wall.
"There was a sinkhole before and we knew there was sinkhole activity," Dupre said. "After the Seffner sinkhole, we were scared. We've been dealing with our insurance company and finally two days ago, they started working on our house. Now it looks like our home is gone."
On Feb. 28, Jeffrey Bush died when a sinkhole opened under his bedroom in Seffner. His body was never recovered.
Dupre's daughter Ivy said the family quickly gathered belongings before running out of the home.
"It was all, like, sinking," Ivy Dupre said. "We got out of the house, we grabbed some things we needed and (got out). And then we called 911."
Sinkholes are common in Florida because the peninsula is made up of porous carbonate rocks such as limestone that store and help move water underground. Over time, the rocks can dissolve from an acid created from oxygen in water, creating a void under the limestone roof. When dirt, clay or sand gets too heavy for the limestone roof, it can collapse, creating a sinkhole.
Meanwhile, Michael Dupre said he was just glad no one was hurt.
"This is our house, we bought five years ago that we wanted to grow old in," Dupre said. "That probably won't happen now. But we're just glad everyone is safe. We'll just have to see what comes next."