Crews begin filling large sinkhole at Tallahassee mobile home park

Crews began filling in the sinkhole at Capital Pines Mobile Community Friday morning.
Crews began filling in the sinkhole at Capital Pines Mobile Community Friday morning.(WCTV)
Published: Jan. 29, 2020 at 12:30 PM EST
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By: Brandon Spencer | WCTV Eyewitness News

January 31, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — Two Tallahassee families are still searching for answers after a sinkhole almost swallowed their homes at the Capital Pines Mobile Community on Wednesday.

Residents tell WCTV this is the second sinkhole that has opened up on this property. They're asking if the two are connected.

Crews began filling in the sinkhole Friday morning. Sinkholes like this usually form either from the dissolution of the ground or a sudden collapse.

Wakulla Springs Ambassador Cal Jamison says there is a mystery to why sinkholes form. He also says it's familiar territory for our area.

Jamison says they happen because of the influence of the Woodville Karst Plain that surrounds Tallahassee. The region's land is so rare that it is only found in certain places on Earth, according to Jamison.

"There’s only three places in the world that have a similar geology," Jamison says. "One's in China, ones in Croatia or Central Europe somewhere and then one of course is here.”

This means that the land in our surrounding area has an underwater cave system that connects the whole region. These water systems then lead to Florida's underwater aquifers.

By: Pat Mueller | WCTV Eyewitness News

January 29, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — A large sinkhole opened at a mobile home park in the 5100 block of Capital Circle Southwest around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Part of one mobile home fell into the sinkhole Wednesday night, the owner of Capital Circle Pines says. The city tells WCTV the hole is about 70-feet deep.

The Tallahassee Police Department responded to the a call from the park and assessed the situation Tuesday night. However, the department says it usually doesn't handle this sort of thing.

Anwar Khouri says he and his brother went to the mall for two hours Tuesday evening. When they came back, the sinkhole was below his mobile home.

Another resident of the mobile park, Lynn Girman, says the community is waiting for first responders to assess the situation and the Red Cross to help her neighbors affected by the sinkhole.

"It started off with a shifting of the ground, then trees started falling into a crevice maybe 40 feet deep," Girman said Wednesday afternoon.

She also says the owner of the park, Matt Hennessy, operates outside of the state.

Hennessy says two mobile homes were affected: one that houses a father with two kids, and another housing a man who lives alone.

"I'm just happy no one was injured, we're very thankful," Hennessy says. "My understanding is it has settled."

Hennessy says he has contacted all authorities, included TPD, as well as the Tallahassee Fire and Environmental departments.

He says the city forwarded him to a local engineering firm for help. It has been evaluated, and now Hennessy is working with a contractor on filling in the hole.

They expect it won't continue growing, but nothing is certain with a sinkhole, according to Hennessy.

Demco Environmental Company has staged equipment near the sinkhole and is ready to fill it in, once the situation is stable.

Hennessy says he's working with the city's code department, which put up a new barrier and signs Thursday.

Geologists have been at the scene to evaluate the sinkhole.

Hennessy says they'll likely start filling in the hole Friday. He has offered housing for the two families affected, but so far they've declined.

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