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Demolitions begin at Dunedin sinkhole homes

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Photo courtesy Mayor Dave Eggers Photo courtesy Mayor Dave Eggers
Photo courtesy Mayor Dave Eggers Photo courtesy Mayor Dave Eggers
(Photo Joe Vasquez, FOX 13) (Photo Joe Vasquez, FOX 13)
DUNEDIN (FOX 13) -

Two homes are being demolished and several others remain evacuated after a sinkhole opened behind two residences on Robmar Road in Dunedin, swallowing portions of both.

Friday morning, crews are bringing in a bulldozer to fill the large hole behind the homes. The hole and debris were still crackling and settling as officials made plans to fill it with tons of dirt.

The view from SkyFOX shows an excavator tearing down the roof and walls of both homes. The entire process could go into this weekend.

The view from SkyFOX on Thursday morning showed a massive hole in the backyard, swallowing parts of a home, pool and boat. At one point, an entire portion of a home collapsed into the sinkhole.  

As of 5 p.m., the sinkhole had grown to 90 feet wide by 56 feet deep, according to Dunedin Fire Department officials. The work to fight back against the growing hole begins today.

There were no reported injuries, police say.

At 11 a.m., a boat that had been teetering on the edge of the hole was safely towed out of harm's way, even as the creaking and cracking around the hole continued.

The homeowner, Michael Dupre, spoke with FOX 13. He said everything started around 5:15 a.m.

"It started swallowing everything around it. We were home. We were sleeping. My daughter woke us up," he said.

Dupre said it sounded like a sledgehammer against the walls. He also said their home was already being looked at for sinkhole activity.

"It sounded like banging against the windows. I thought someone was trying to break-in," said Ivy, Dupre's daughter.

Ivy said there are actually two sinkholes – the large one behind the home and another opening by her bedroom. Engineers say that both sinkholes are growing, and the two homes are a loss.

Dupre said firefighters rushed into the house to tell his family they needed to grab whatever they could and get out.

"We grabbed only the important stuff," he told FOX 13. "Insurance information – stuff like that. You don't really think about this kind of stuff happening."

Several homes surrounding were evacuated. The hole is continuing to grow in size, and rescue crews are concerned it will do more damage.

FOX 13's Alcides Segui spoke to several neighbors, who said other homes had reported sinkhole activity.

According to records, Dupre already had inspections done on his home because of noticeable cracks in the structure.

Dupre has the state-run Citizens Insurance.

The Tampa Bay area is no stranger to sinkholes. In fact, parts of it are known as "sinkhole alley," specifically the areas in Hernando, Hillsborough and Pasco.

Dunedin is in Pinellas County.

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