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Florida Sinkhole Swallows Up Boat And Homes In US State

Residents have fled their homes.

15/07/2017 15:11 BST | Updated 15/07/2017 15:12 BST

Two homes have been swallowed up by a huge sinkhole that opened up in Florida on Friday.

The 225ft-wide sinkhole near a lake north of Tampa forced people to leave their homes and about 100 properties in the neighbourhood lost power.

Authorities said the sinkhole appears to have stopped expanding, but that circumstances could change, especially if it rains, Reuters reports. 

“The hole itself now appears to be dormant,” Kevin Guthrie, Pasco County’s assistant administrator for public safety, said at a news conference, CNN reports.

Two dogs were rescued from the first of the two homes that fell victim to the sinkhole, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Department said. No one was injured.

The sinkhole was first reported to the authorities on Friday morning in Land O’ Lakes, about 20 miles north of Tampa and about 25 miles east of the Gulf of Mexico.

It had already sucked in the boat by the time firefighters arrived 15 minutes later.

By late Friday morning, the sinkhole was 200ft feet wide and 50ft deep.

Residents who had to leave their homes have been told that they will not be able to return for at least a week.

“We know it’s going to be very hard for you to sleep because anything, any bump in the night, you’re going to wonder what’s going on with your house,” Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said.

He then assured residents that deputies would be alert overnight and “will be there in a moment’s notice” if they have to be awakened to remain safe.