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Landslide in Central Florida, USA on Tuesday, 13 August, 2013

 

As glass broke, the ground shook and lights went out, vacationers evacuated a central Florida resort building before a sinkhole caused a section of the structure to partially collapse early today. About 30 percent of the three-story structure collapsed around 3 a.m., Lake County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Tony Cuellar said. The building - which had housed 105 visitors - was stable by midafternoon, said Paul Caldwell, the development's president. Two adjacent buildings, which each have 24 units, were evacuated as a precaution. Caldwell said the resort underwent geological testing when it was built about 15 years ago, showing the ground to be stable, and that there were no signs before Sunday that a sinkhole was developing. He said all affected guests had been given other rooms and some guests - many of whom had to leave their wallets, purses and other belongings behind in the quick evacuation - had been given cash advances. Resort workers were working to do "whatever we need to do to make it right," Caldwell said. Technicians were on the scene Monday afternoon to inspect the structures, determine when anyone might be able to go back inside, and decide whether belongs would be recovered. Security guard Richard Shanley had just started his night shift late Sunday when he heard what he thought was screaming from the building. He said he thought some sort of violence might be going on. "I come to find it was actually the building being pulled apart," Shanley said. He 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. Caldwell, the development's president, said a window popped in one of the rooms about 10:30 p.m. Sunday. A woman ran outside and flagged down a guard Shanley, who notified management. Another window then popped and a decision was made to immediately evacuate the building, Caldwell said. The process took 10 to 15 minutes, he said. The section of the building sank into the ground over next five hours, said Amy Jedele, a resort guest who was staying with her fiancee, Darren Gade, in a building about 100 yards away. Residents who had been inside the building described hearing what sounded like thunder and then the sound of water, as if it were a thunderstorm, she said.
 

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Tags: 13, 2013, August, Central, Florida, Landslide, Tuesday, USA, in, on

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