Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

August 13, 2013

Sinkhole swallows part of resort villa

CLERMONT, Fla. (AP) — It sounded like a thunderstorm as windows broke and the ground shook, but vacations who were awakened from their rooms at a villa near Orlando soon realized that the building was starting to collapse — parts of it swallowed by a 100-foot sinkhole that also endangered two neighboring resort buildings.

By early Monday, nearly a third of the structure at Summer Bay Resort had collapsed. All 105 guests staying in the villa were evacuated, as were those in the neighboring buildings. No injuries were reported. The villa, with 24 three-story units, was reported as a total loss, and inspectors remained on the scene Monday afternoon to determine whether the other two buildings near the sinkhole — a common occurrence in Florida — would be safe to re-enter.

The first sign of trouble came about 10:30 Sunday night. Security guard Richard Shanley had just started his shift, and he heard what sounded like shouting from a building.

A guest flagged him down to report that a window had blown out. Shanley reported it to management, and another window popped. The resort’s staff decided to evacuate the villa.

Shanley said the building seemed to sink by 10 to 20 inches and bannisters began to fall off the building as he ran up and down three floors trying to wake guests. One couple with a baby on the third floor couldn’t get their door open and had to break a window to get out, he said.

“It’s a scary situation,” Shanley said, and guests credited him with saving lives by knocking on doors to wake them.

Inside, they heard what sounded like thunder and then the storm of water, as if it were a storm. Evacuation took about 10 to 15 minutes, according to staff and witnesses.

Amy Jedele heard screams coming from one of adjacent buildings around 10:30 p.m., and several minutes later the sounds of sirens. She and her fiance, Darren Gade, went outside. “That’s when you could hear the pops and the metal, the concrete and the glass breaking,” she said.

Text Only

the BIZ

AP Video
Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide