PORT RICHEY — Peggy Gamble was outside her Port Richey home Saturday when she noticed a hole forming near her front door. The next day, it grew into what she and her husband Jim are calling a cavern.
The Gambles called Pasco County emergency service crews at 6:49 p.m. Sunday and were evacuated from their Orchards of Radcliffe home, 7949 Radcliffe Circle.
Authorities have not classified the hole, estimated at 8 feet across and 15-20 feet deep, as a sinkhole, according to Pasco County spokesman Doug Tobin.
The Gambles said they were not allowed back into their home Sunday night and stayed with their daughter. The only possession they were allowed to take was their cat, Faith.
“I saw the ground with a hole underneath that drain pipe and that was on Saturday,” Peggy Gamble said. “Then I was out (Sunday) and I said, ‘That hole looks larger.’ ”
She immediately told her husband, who then checked the hole.
“I took one look at it and said, ‘That is not a hole, that’s a cavern.’ ”
They believe the hole has made its way beneath their laundry room which is in the front portion of the home.
Both said they immediately began to think about Jeffrey Bush, who lost his life in Seffner when a sinkhole opened beneath his bedroom and swallowed him in 2013.
“It’s only a house,” Jim Gamble said. “Houses can be replaced. If you lose your life, you’re gone.”
The condominium complex’s insurance will pay to repair the hole under the home the Gambles bought two years ago, the couple said.
Engineers had not arrived at the home by Monday afternoon. Meanwhile, members of the complex’s maintenance crew were busy trying to rid the hole of a possum. They lowered a cage into the hole with a small piece of freshly fried chicken in an attempt to woo the animal.
The Gambles were the lone residents evacuated. Others in the adjoining condos stayed.