Sinkholes Form At Marion Schools, Home

Published On: Oct 25 2011 08:26:39 AM EDT
Updated On: Oct 11 2011 11:31:54 AM EDT
MARION COUNTY, Fla. -

After one massive sinkhole sent an Ocala family packing, there's now concern other sinkholes are spreading to other homes.

The Antis family is waiting for word from their insurance company after a massive sinkhole left them fleeing in the middle of the night. The sinkhole in their driveway and inches from their childrens' bedroom opened Sunday night during heavy rains. And as they packed up essentials Tuesday afternoon, another sinkhole collapsed right in front of them

"It's something to wake up to a hole in your yard and the car's in it, but to physically stand there and watch it, and hear it, and see it -- it's totally different. It's scary," said Beth Antis from her relative's home Tuesday evening. "I can't imagine if something were to happen to my kids."

This hole is in the area of the family's yard where their four children normally play each day. It also swallowed the family vehicle. Antis said there's more on her mind that just the massive sinkhole in her front yard. She's having a tough time explaining to her children why they can't come home and responding to questions even she can't answer.

"Today I've been crying a lot all day," she said. "My husband's trying to be strong, but I think he's caving too."

The Antis' have lived in their home for about a year and a half and knew a previous sinkhole had opened in the exact location, but the family never thought that it would be this bad.

The city has deemed their home unsafe. The family will spend the night with relatives and hopes their insurance company will pay for temporary housing. Antis said their insurance company will inspect the sinkhole again Wednesday. Regardless what the insurance company says, they don't want to return because they're worried the problem underground appears to be spreading.

One neighbor came home to find new sinkholes and cracks in her own home.

"I'm very concerned," said Michelle Shulze. "I'm a single mom. I have my parents living with here and I take care of them. I have my son and he's 9. This is our home."

The Antis family painted around the sinkholes to see if they grow overnight. They also put up a rope around the sinkhole and their property line hoping to prevent anyone from coming here and getting hurt.

After the weekend of heavy rain, sinkholes also formed at three Marion County schools. The school board said the most serious is at the bus loop of Ward Highlands Elementary School. The other two are at Vanguard High School and Howard Middle School. Both are in retention pond areas and have been roped off.

All three schools will remain open.

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