Massive Sinkhole Opens up Under Florida Mobile Homes, Residents Evacuated

A sinkhole that opened up at a Florida mobile home park yesterday has partially swallowed one residence and remains active, police warn.

Residents of several homes had to be evacuated after the sinkhole opened without warning at the Capital Circle Pines mobile park in Tallahassee on Tuesday afternoon. The gaping hole was estimated to be approximately 50 foot wide, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

Police officers confirmed they responded to the 5100 block of Capital Circle Southwest around 5:30 p.m. to assist with securing the impacted area.

"You never know what kind of call you'll answer as an officer. This was a sinkhole," the department wrote on Twitter, releasing images of the destruction.

While no-one is believed to have been injured during the initial incident, at least one home has since been structurally ruined, photos show.

"We are really glad no one was injured and our thoughts are with the families," police said. "Please avoid sight seeing at this location. It's not safe as the sinkhole is still active.

"One of the homes fell in this evening. Several families are hurting as they are losing their home. Please keep them in your thoughts & prayers. Avoid this area [and] stay safe."

The identities of the homeowners impacted by the sinkhole were not released by police, but the Tallahassee Democrat reported one victim was Anwar El Khouri, 74. The man said he only realized what happened after returning home following a visit to the local mall with his brother.

According to WCTV, the second homeowner was a man who lives in the park with his two children. The owner of the park, Matt Hennessy, told the news website that city officials will now work to fill in the hole. "I'm just happy no one was injured, we're very thankful," Hennessy said.

You never know what kind of call you’ll answer as an officer. This was a sink hole. TPD officers responded to the 5100 block of CCSW yesterday to assist with securing the area & evacuated several homes. We are really glad no one was injured & our thoughts are with the families. pic.twitter.com/luDBZKLw7j

— Tallahassee Police (@TallyPD) January 29, 2020

Please avoid sight seeing at this location. It’s not safe as the #sinkhole is still active. One of the homes fell in this evening. Several families are hurting as they are losing their home. Please keep them in your thoughts & prayers. Avoid this area & stay safe! #safetyfirst pic.twitter.com/K6xFf5qTyo

— Tallahassee Police (@TallyPD) January 30, 2020

Khouri said he had felt a tremor a few days prior to the sinkhole, while another resident told local media a smaller sinkhole had opened up inside Capital Circle Pines a few years ago.

"It started off with a shifting of the ground, then trees started falling into a crevice maybe 40 feet deep," Lynn Girman, a resident of the park, told WCTV, describing the latest sinkhole.

In most cases, sinkholes occur when the land below the ground can no longer support the surface, according to a fact-sheet published by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The agency says that most damage from sinkholes tends to occur in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.

The USGS explains on its website: "Sinkholes are dramatic because the land usually stays intact for a while until the underground spaces just get too big. If there is not enough support for the land above the spaces, then a sudden collapse of the land surface can occur. These collapses can be small... or they can be huge and can occur where a house or road is on top."

Capital Circle Pines
Capital Circle Pines, Capital Circle Southwest, Tallahassee, FL, USA. Google Maps