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Sinkhole causes villa to partially collapse

12 August 2013, 15:00

Clermont — A sinkhole caused a section of a central Florida resort villa to partially collapse early on Monday, while another section of the villa was sinking, authorities said.

About 30% of the three-storey structure collapsed at around 03:00 on Monday, Lake County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Tony Cuellar said. The villa at the Summer Bay Resort had already been evacuated and no injuries were reported.

Cuellar said authorities were also concerned about another section of the villa, which was sinking.

The sinkhole, which is in the middle of the villa, is about 12 to 15m in diameter, Cuellar said. He said authorities think it was getting deeper but couldn't tell early on Monday if it was growing outward.

The villa houses 24 units and about 20 people were staying in it at the time, Cuellar said.

Authorities were called to the scene, about 16km west of Disney World, late on Sunday where they found that the building was making popping sounds and windows were breaking.

A nearby villa was also evacuated as a precaution, Cuellar said.

Witnesses told The Associated Press they could hear a cracking sound as the villa began sinking. A large crack was visible at the building's base.

Luis Perez, who was staying at a villa near the sinking one, said he was in his room when the lights went off at around 23:30. He said he was on his way to the front desk to report the outage when he saw firefighters and police outside.

"I started walking toward where they were at and you could see the building leaning and you could see a big crack at the base of the building," he said Perez.

- AP

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