Sinkhole displaces residents of condo complex west of Disney World

Article Courtesy of The Orlando Sentinel
By Caitlin Doornbos

Published January 12 , 2017


Multiple families were displaced after a sinkhole developed in a gated condominium complex west of Disney's Animal Kingdom on Friday, Osceola County officials said.

The sinkhole was first reported in the 9100 block of Calypso Court, east of U.S. 27, about 8 a.m. and appeared to be "about the size of two cars," said Lt. Ryan Berry of the Osceola County Sheriff's Office. The sinkhole started opening behind a building near a retention pond.

Firefighters from Osceola County Fire Rescue Station 71 and deputies responded to the scene, evacuating residents and taping off the area. No injuries were reported.

There was no obvious damage to the building, but it was declared uninhabitable, Berry said. Housing is being arranged for the evacuated residents.

He said he did not know how many people were affected.

Firefighters and deputies left the scene by noon Friday, Berry said.

Officials will be assessing the structure and watching the sinkhole for possible expansion.

Geologists say Central Florida can be prone to sinkholes, which form with little warning. When heavy rain seeps into the ground, the water can become acidic and eat away at the limestone layer, causing the land to collapse into the cavities that form.

Other recent sinkholes in Central Florida include a 15-foot-wide-hole in an off-ramp from eastbound Interstate 4 to eastbound Maitland Boulevard in October 2015, a 10-foot-wide hole in the Oasis at Pearl Lake Condominiums complex in Altamonte Springs in August 2015 and a 3-foot opening in Orlando near Bay Villa Court and Charles E. Limpus Road in March 2015.

But they were nothing compared to an 80-foot crater in Lake County in August 2015.

One of the most notable local sinkholes opened in 2013 when two buildings were swallowed at Summer Bay Resort, just north of Friday's sinkhole across U.S. Hwy 192.