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Florida buildings collapse into sinkhole near Disney World

Dozens of guests at a Florida resort near Walt Disney World were evacuated early Monday, when at least two buildings partially collapsed after a sinkhole opened on the property's grounds, guests and resort employees said.

Police tape surrounds a home where a sinkhole opened up and swallowed a man in Seffner, Florida Credit: Reuters Police tape surrounds a home where another sinkhole opened up and swallowed a man in Seffner, Fla., several months ago.
Credit: Reuters

Dozens of guests at a Florida resort near Walt Disney World were evacuated early Monday when at least two buildings partially collapsed after a sinkhole opened on the property's grounds, guests and resort employees said.

A spokesman for the Lake County Fire Department said there were no injuries.

Guests "heard the building popping, and they all got out," said a Summer Bay Resort security worker. He said the buildings at least partially collapsed into a sinkholes.

Dora Dembley, another employee at the Clermont, Fla., resort near Orlando, said Lake County fire officials responded after at least two buildings on the 64-acre property were damaged late Sunday.

"Everybody was cleared out of the buildings, so nobody got hurt," said Dembley, who confirmed that multiple buildings were damaged, including one whose front was sheared off and appeared to sink into the ground.

One witness told WFTV, a local television station, that "windows were breaking everywhere."

"One woman was sitting in the tub and the tub levitated, and that's when she just grabbed a pair of shorts and came out," guest Maggie Ghamry told the station.

She said another couple with an infant had to smash through a room window after the door frame collapsed.

Sinkholes in Florida are relatively common, caused by the state's porous geological bedrock of limestone. As acidic rainwater filters into the ground, it dissolves the rock, causing erosion that can lead to underground caverns, resulting in sinkholes.

Dembley said several dozen evacuated guests were being housed in other buildings on the property, about six miles from Walt Disney World.

In March a sinkhole opened under a Tampa area home, swallowing the bedroom of 37-year-old landscaper Jeff Bush, whose body was never recovered.

In 1981 in Winter Park near Orlando, a sinkhole measuring 320 feet wide and 90 feet deep swallowed a two-story house, part of a Porsche dealership and an Olympic-size swimming pool. The site is now an artificial lake.

 
 
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