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Florida sinkhole swallows swimming pool on owner's birthday

By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   June 4, 2013 at 10:19 AM  |  Updated June 4, 2013 at 2:23 PM   |   Comments

Suzanne Blumenauer threw a giant pool party at her Winter Park, Florida, home on Sunday night. She went out for a birthday dinner date Monday evening, and came back to find her swimming pool sinking into her backyard.

Orange County Fire Rescue arrived and found the hole 40 to 50 feet wide and 30 to 40 feet deep, Battalion Chief Billy Richardson told the Orlando Sentinel. "They came back from dinner and half the backyard was gone," he said.

By 10:30 p.m. the edge of the sinkhole was 20 feet from the back door of the house. Blumenauer is staying elsewhere until officials determine whether it's safe to remain in the house. A county geologist and workers from the building department are examining the sinkhole Tuesday.

Several homes have been evacuated, and the property directly behind Blumenauer's 1947 concrete and cinder block home is especially compromised.

Neighbors wonder whether the hole could be related to a construction project on Lake Killarney which is just steps from the homes. Henderson Wilder Contractor of Orange County has trucks and equipment nearby.

Neighbors said they feel vibrations in their homes when the equipment is running. The contractor, who could not be reached by the Sentinel, provides services including soil stabilization for sinkholes.

Florida has had a number of recent sinkholes make headlines, including one which opened up under Jeffrey Bush as he was sleeping in his Tampa-area home.

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