The largest sinkhole in Pasco County in three decades doesn’t appear to be growing but has become a hazmat situation, officials said Saturday.
- PHOTOS, VIDEO: Land O'Lakes sinkhole destroys 2 homes, 9 homes in danger
The 225-foot-wide sinkhole in Land O'Lakes is 50 feet deep and destroyed two homes Friday morning. Families in nine others were forced to evacuate.
As of right now, only five homes remain compromised, officials said, as some residents have slowly returned home.
But despite the sinkhole being stabilized, neighbors remained on edge. Terrence Doohen lives right next to the sinkhole and thought his home was next.
“You could just see it growing and growing,” Doohen said. “You could see cracks forming in the street, and we thought it was coming.”
Doohen was forced to evacuate but returned home Saturday just to gather a few things. He and other neighbors don’t know when they will be allowed to come home.
Pasco County Assistant Administrator Kevin Guthrie said the response is now switching to recovery mode — treating this sinkhole as a hazmat situation.
“I say hazmat, because this water has chemicals in it. It has septic tanks nearby,” Guthrie said in a news conference Saturday morning. Crews were treating the entire area as though it's contaminated.
Guthrie said geologists will determine when evacuated families can return to their homes. For some, it may be a few days; for others, it could be several weeks.
The hole I actively growing. pic.twitter.com/EEzmrkHH6c— Pasco Sheriff (@PascoSheriff) July 14, 2017
The sinkhole continues to eat away at the land. pic.twitter.com/U0VeaPoVge— Pasco Sheriff (@PascoSheriff) July 14, 2017
The main thing, neighbors said, is that it doesn’t get worse.
“We're next on the hole's list, if it's going to move," Doohen said. "At this point, it's been stable for a little bit. Let's keep our fingers crossed."
No one was injured when the sinkhole opened up.
The Red Cross and United Way were assisting affected families.