ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. — More than a dozen people are without a home Wednesday after a possible sinkhole forced evacuations at an Altamonte Springs condominium complex.
- Engineers monitoring possible sinkhole in Altamonte Springs
- Authorities evacuated a Royal Arms Condominiums unit
- The hole was measured to be about 20 feet in diameter
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According to a spokesperson with Seminole County Fire, a hole opened up at Royal Arms Condominiums at 536 Orange Drive, off of Orange Drive.
The public information officer with the Altamonte Springs Police Department told Spectrum News 13 that authorities are treating it like a sinkhole.
The call came in around 6:20 p.m. Tuesday at the Royal Arms Condominiums and every unit in the 536 building was evacuated, stated Michelle Sosa.
The ground gave way underneath a portion of the building, which is located next to Lake Orienta. Sosa said the hole grew somewhat bigger after officers arrived.
Just minutes after they got to the condo complex, they decided to evacuate the building.
"For the most part, most of the people that have been evacuated and displaced, they've gone to other family member's homes, the American Red Cross has just helped a few of the 16 units," Sosa said.
The hole was measured to be about 20 feet in diameter, and a portion of the building sits right at the edge of it.
For much of Wednesday, engineers and construction crews were at the scene to monitor the hole and try to secure the building.
Engineers hope filling it will keep the hole from getting bigger. They say it has all the signs of a sinkhole, which includes its depth. They found historical aerial photos that show sinkhole areas before the condos were built.
“There (are) ancient sinkholes that are in this area, and when they did development, they kind of rearranged the land a little bit," said Byron Anderson with Structural Engineers and Inspection, Inc.
Eventually, crews will most likely install underpinnings beneath the building to secure it, which could take some time.
“We are working now to stabilize the acute problem we have here. Once it has been determined by an engineer the building is safe, the power can be turned back, and they can go back in," said Adam Lewis, a spokesperson for Royal Arms.
Lewis said the insurance company could also work with the homeowners to offset some of the costs of having to find another place to stay.
Homeowners have not been given the go-ahead to get back into their homes, but as of Wednesday evening there’s no timetable for when that might happen.