Fla. Woman’s House Swallowed by Sinkhole

Jun 21, 2012 1:07pm

Susan Minutillo will likely never just run out to knock a few errands off her to-do list the same way again.

The last time she did that the 79-year-old Florida woman returned home to find her house underground.  Minutillo, of Hudson, Fla., a Tampa suburb, left her home around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday to run a few errands for her friend.  When she returned just 30 minutes later she found emergency vehicles surrounding her home that was now partially swallowed by a giant sinkhole.

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“I never thought this would happen to me,” she told the Lakeland Ledger Wednesday afternoon. “I don’t know where I’ll go now.”

A survey crew had been at Minutillo’s home to do a routine test but, at around 3 p.m, the crew had to call in emergency officials when the ground beneath the back half of the house opened, the Ledger reported.

About 70 percent of the home, a size described by Pasco Fire Rescue officials “as big as a two-car garage,” is in the sinkhole, according to local ABC affiliate WFTS.

Minutillo was not allowed back inside her house on Wednesday and had to rely on firefighters to bring out her essential items like medications and private documents.  The house, officials say, is a total loss.

Minutillo, a widow, plans to stay with a nearby sister until she learns more, she told the Ledger.

Some of Minutillo’s neighbors were also evacuated as a precaution yesterday while officials conduct tests to determine what caused the sinkhole and whether it is continuing to spread.

The sinkhole is the latest to strike the Sunshine State in recent months.  In May, a family in Windermere, Fla., near Orlando, was evacuated after a 100 feet wide and 50 feet deep sinkhole threatened their home.

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