Brooksville - Chris Cook heard the suction from inside his house Sunday night.
It was dark, windy and raining. He saw the water stretching beyond the edge of the retention pond behind a row of homes along Nodding Shade Drive. It was inching toward the pole to his bird house, which is about 20 paces from his back porch.
Cook shined his flashlight to the left. He was joined outside by his next-door neighbor, who was hearing the same sounds.
He saw the whirlpool. He knew the depression underneath the flowing water was a fresh sinkhole.
In 24 hours, he saw 14 more open up in his neighborhood - some of them deeper than 20 feet.
Based on what he's heard during the previous 72 hours, he now immediately recognizes the sound of the ground collapsing into a sinkhole.
"Oh, I could hear the booms from my living room," he said. "It sounds like a big piece of furniture falling over. The whole house shakes."
Calls from several homeowners were made to Pulte, the developer of Trillium of Brooksville, located along County Line Road, a short distance east of Spring Hill.
A few of them said they aren't getting any answers.
"They clammed up," said Cook, who also made calls to his insurance company, the homeowners association and the county.
One of his neighbor's has a sinkhole in his front yard.
Kelly Gregoire, who lives next door, had one sinkhole open a few feet from her 3-year-old's swing set. She dismantled a portion of it and moved it closer to the house so that it wouldn't fall inside.
"All of a sudden you hear this, 'woosh,'" she said, describing the last sinkhole she heard. "Everything just crashes down. It's crazy."
One of the holes that opened Monday morning swallowed a couple trees about 15 yards from Cook's property.
Mike Berros saw one third of his backyard disappear after a 25-foot-deep hole opened that same day.
He said the water was rushing out of it like a geyser.
Beginning today, the homeowners association will begin "earth-moving activities" in an effort to fill in the holes.
"We ask for your cooperation and patience as we mobilize the appropriate equipment necessary to make these repairs and undertake corrective actions," wrote Adam Smith, the board president.
He stated all homeowners who have detected sinkhole activities should contact their insurance companies.
Cook, who has lived at Trillium for six years, said promises have been made about filling the sinkholes in the retention pond - property owned by Pulte. No guarantees have been made about holes on his or his neighbor's property.
"You trust your builder to do the right thing and build on a safe area and obviously this isn't safe," he said.
Sinkholes have cropped up across the county. The Hernando County Sheriff's Office reported about 30 in the area of Mariner Boulevard and Claymore Street.
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In related news:
A trio of gaping holes opened Monday on a taxiway at the Hernando County Airport, affecting one of the entrances to the Army Air National Guard facility. Kim Poppke, marketing and property coordinator for the airport, said the airport is operational and repairs have already begun.
Poppke said the holes are roughly six feet deep and up to eight feet wide.
|Comment: Unfortunately, and as these pictures reveal, homes in Florida developmental areas are built similar to cars,
they last about 5-15 years, and the neighborhoods then become the slums they are today, almost in every case. The homes are built with
cheap labor depriving any artistic value to vie for excessive contractor profits. A study was done a few years ago on the quality of
these types of homes seen in the photo in the Orlando area, and what was discovered was that the homes were literally falling apart. All home
eventually sucuumb to termite damage as the industry refuses to upgrade their technology to that of a natural deterent such as what
is known of mycelium. With the economic downturn, this maximizes the kill on value in building these types of developments. Now, millions
of these homes set vacant and the prices will continue to fall in effect destroying the notion that these types of useless neighborhoods
have any value at all. They give you a place to live, but its use is only in the value that is provides in forcing the occupants out of their
houses and into the shopping malls and spending apparatuses. The sinkholes intensify the notion that sprawl building is a sign of the times
of the lost cause and homes that seriously offer nothing to the owner. I've worked for hundreds of these owners in fixing all the shody
work that the owners were unable to affectively determine was part of their vulnerability to the shysters who would in their own greed build
homes that are truly garbage, expensive to maintain, and if built within a development such as seen, guaranteed to lose value. Unfortunately,
these homes are still being built in surrounding areas in the same way, although this has drastically been reduced, people are only now
beginning to realize what is occurring in relation to the false real estate scam dependent on these diseases.
Instead of building homes that truly offer value, an attempt is now being made to confess that these developments were wrong in scope, and the way to solve that is to focus on what I would call Stupid Cities where the blame for all these mistakes can be refocused onto the consumer to attain more profits. It is called Agenda 21.