Massive Lake County Sinkhole Continues to Swallow Building

Jul 22, 2011

The following article was posted to the Channel 9, website on July 20, 2011: 

Massive Lake Co. Sinkhole Continues to Swallow Building

A large sinkhole has been swallowing downtown Leesburg and many neighbors said they are concerned.

The sinkhole at Main and East streets has already gobbled up one business, and the damage is getting worse.

City leaders said the mess is in the hands of the landowner, and city officials said since it’s only been a couple of weeks, they’re not ready to issue any ultimatums.

Douglass Anderson has a good view of the sinkhole because it’s just 50 paces from his Leesburg home.

“No. I don’t think we’ve got to pull out. I think the thing is going that way,” said Anderson, pointing away from his house.

The sinkhole opened at the corner of East and Main on June 27. “There’s no indication that this hole has been growing,” said Robert Sargent, Leesburg city spokesman.

Sargent said even though half the roof of Main Street Hair and Beauty Supply caved in, the width and depth of the pit remains the same. The sinkhole is 60 feet across and 20 feet down.

“Is the city responsible to fix this problem?” asked WFTV reporter Berndt Peterson.

“The city has the minority portion of this hole,” said Sargent.

The part that swallowed a piece of Crosby Street, which is fenced off, but the building sits on private property and the city is waiting on land owner Refeek Mohamid and his insurance company to make the next move.

On Wednesday night, neighbors said they thought the hole was growing after more of the street collapsed, but city engineers said the ground under the street fell in on day one.

It was a matter of time before the thin layer of asphalt followed.”Well, hopefully it won’t be too much longer. I’ll be here until they tell me to move,” said Anderson.

WFTV couldn’t reach the owner for comment, but city leaders said they’re staying in contact and hope the building will be demolished and the hole filled soon.

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