Employees immediately evacuated a Bob Evans restaurant in Seffner, Fla., after discovering cracks in the walls and floor a few miles from where a sinkhole swallowed a man earlier this year.
The workers abandoned the building early Sunday morning when they saw giant cracks in the building's structure, along the walls and through parts of the floor. No injuries were reported as employees ran for cover, worried the building was about to collapse.
The Bob Evans restaurant will remain closed for several days after county officials brought in engineers to test the ground and building for movement. Authorities are investigating whether a sinkhole or rain that washed away a retaining wall that supports the building are to blame for the damage.
"Once all of the data has been placed, then they will make a determination," Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Nacole Revette said.
Authorities say they're not concerned about the hotel or truck stop next door to the restaurant, but residents are still on edge.
"It's scary. I was here Friday having brunch and there wasn't any problem then," resident Carole Shaffer said.
Seffner residents have good reason to be cautious after a sinkhole opened up in a family's backyard last week and drained a pool a few miles from the Bob Evans restaurant.
"We've got a lot of kids and a lot of schools and churches right around here. I don't want nothing to happen to them," Shaffer said.
Sinkholes have been a disruptive menace in the past few months in the United States. A Chicago sinkhole swallowed three cars in April. And a large sinkhole in Northern California threatened to collapse an entire subdivision last month.