One building has collapsed and two others evacuated at an Orlando-area timeshare after a 100' wide sinkhole opened late Sunday night.
Guests were sent scrambling as a sinkhold unexpectedly opened up beneath the Summer Bay Resort, located approximately 4 miles from Walt Disney World property. Creaking and cracking sounds from the building structure--produced as the unstable earth began to fail--left guests with only 10-15 minutes to escape.
Three buildings at the resort are currently uninhabitable due to the sinkhole. Building 104 collapsed in dramatic fashion. Also impacted are Buildings 103--which shares a breezeway with 104--and Building 105.
All guests escaped safely, but many lost all of their personal belongings as they fled the impacted buildings. The resort has taken steps to accommodate the displaced guests elsewhere on the Summer Bay property or at nearby resorts. The Red Cross is also assisting.
ABC Action News coverage
Sinkholes are an everpresent problem in Central Florida. Developers claim that all necessary steps were taken to verify ground stability before construction. Engineers are on-site working to verify the stability of surrounding land. The resort continues to sell ownership in buildings elsewhere on the property.
A representative from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation confirmed to the Orlando Sentinel that Summer Bay Resort does have reserve funds earmarked for disaster recovery. Insurance proceeds would also help to offset reconstruction or reloacation of the facilities. However, owners could be subject to a special assessment if additional funds are required.
Additional details are availabile at OrlandoSentinel.com.
And Florida isn't the only state prone to sinkholes, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Pennsylvania get them too. And the there is San Francisco that gets them as well, but probably for a different type of landscape. I imagine you learn to live with the danger like those of us that put up with earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Be alert even when on vacation.
Every time I hear of a sinkhole in Florida, I remember the story that Epcot supposedly has one. The story I heard is the walk between future world and world showcase is so long because they discovered a sinkhole. They tried to fill it, but couldn't. The story goes they even have a few trucks down there. After giving up, they designed around it.
I'm skeptical of the story though. Disney wouldn't want to risk guests walking even close to a sinkhole.