Palm Harbor neighborhood on edge after possible sinkhole

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Neighbors are on edge in Palm Harbor community where there might be a possible sinkhole, but officials are calling it a depression for now.

The 76-year-old homeowner, Theresa Riello, is staying with neighbors, but others in the community are concerned their homes could be next.

Reports of cracks at a Palm Harbor home have officials saying it’s now unlivable. Riello was forced out of her home.

Engineers checked neighbor Helene Berg’s house and found nothing, but she’s still concerned.

"I couldn’t fall asleep the rest of the night,” Berg said.

Officials can’t say whether it’s a sinkhole until an engineer comes to check it out.

Neighbor Joyce Gordon showed us a crack in her bathroom but says it’s been there for a while. "I’m a little tense and worried. We’re supposed to be going on a cruise Sunday and I hate to leave the house."

So should these neighbors be worried?

USF Engineering professor and sinkhole expert Nick Albergo says no — unless they start seeing bigger cracks or a shift in their foundation.

"It needs to be more than just hairline cracks, if their windows or doors are sticking. That might suggest some type of displacement of some sort,” he said.

While we all know what sinkholes look like, depressions cause less concern.

"You have these small areas where you see a dip. And you’ll see them all over the state of Florida,” Albergo said.

Left with many questions, neighbors are ready to evacuate, remaining hopeful the depression won’t spread to their home too.

"If they told us we had to leave, we have no problem doing that,” Berg said.

If you’re worried about a sinkhole or a depression at your home check for cracks and with your insurance company to see if it’s covered.

In this case, the county is waiting for an engineer from this homeowner’s insurance company to decide if it can be repaired or condemned.

© 2018 WTSP-TV

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