BROOKSVILLE, FLA. - Three massive sinkholes that made headlines last summer and continue to catch the attention of drivers traveling north on U.S. 41 are about to disappear.
LRE Foundation Repair has volunteered its services to the residence located at 4370 Broad Street in Brooksville in an effort to make the site safer for both the property owner and Hernando County residents.
Last summer, owner Troy and Lily Fielder's 1-acre property had three massive sinkholes open up as a result of torrential rains from Tropical Storm Debby. One of the holes took down a huge oak tree estimated to be over 200 years old.
The home, which the family purchased in 1963, was partially under water for weeks. Troy had to be assisted out of the flooded home while Lily was in the hospital battling Leukemia.
As bad as the aftermath of the storm was, it paled in comparison to the devastation the family was dealt when Lily passed away in July.
"My mother lost everything," said Richard Gray, whose mother Lily married Troy Fielder while he was serving as a member of the military in Germany. "Everything she had ever worked for in her life was in that house, and she lost everything."
The financial assistance the family received from FEMA was used to relocate Troy to Tennessee, where he resides in an assisted living facility and has several family members nearby.
For months, all three holes sat filled with rain water, but they have since dried out. The home was deemed uninhabitable.
The huge craters have remained a hazard and eyesore for over half a year. The underlying cause of the sinkholes has yet to be determined by a professional geotechnical engineer. The residence will not be considered safe or stabilized until it is actually repaired in accordance to a professional engineer's recommendations. LRE's goal and role is to patch up the problems on the surface that are obvious to anyone that travels by the property.
Gray, who still hopes to salvage the house, expressed his sincere thanks to LRE Foundation Repair and others for volunteering their help.
"This was like our worst nightmare," said Gray. "When this first happened LRE called me and wanted to help. They offered to help our family weather the storm with gift cards or food cards, but at the time we really didn't need anything like that. They told me that if I needed anything to just call. Later on, I felt I needed some advice, and LRE met me out at the property and it was a miracle. LRE told me they were going to fill the holes, and at their expense. When they told me that I was almost in tears. Up to that point, my sister and I had no clue what we were going to do, but then LRE came through with a miracle.
"A lot of people offered to help us. One lady stopped by our house and gave me all the money she had in her pocket. I said, 'No, we don't need the money right now, but we appreciate it.' But later on I started calling around agencies trying to find Troy housing and things like that. A lot of people have been very kind, but nobody has done anything like this. The help that LRE is providing us is unbelievable."
LRE's work on the three sinkholes will begin on Wednesday, Feb. 20. The work is expected to conclude by the end of the month.
LRE Foundation Repair is investing thousands of its own dollars as well as a plethora of its resources to the sinkhole-plagued property in Brooksville in hopes of providing some temporary relief to the homeowner and erasing some of the bigger footprints left behind by Tropical Storm Debby.
"It's been difficult to pass by this property every day and not feel for this family," said LRE Foundation Repair General Manager Frank Vitale. "This isn't just cracking on a structure or a small dropout in the yard. These are massive holes that could be unsafe for the homeowner and possibly other Hernando County residents. LRE is putting a Band-Aid on an issue that likely will need more attention down the road. But the work we perform on this property should be considered a significant step in the right direction for both Mr. Gray, his family and all of Hernando County."
Based in Brooksville, LRE Foundation Repair is Florida's largest foundation repair company, employing over 130 full-time team members and deploying over 20 crews each day. That manpower, along with the company's high ethical standards and outstanding reputation in neighborhoods throughout the state, have played an integral role in LRE completing over 4,000 residential and commercial projects since 1989.
For media requests related to the work that will be performed by LRE Foundation Repair at 4370 Broad Street in Brooksville, or general inquiries about LRE, contact Marketing Manager Jim Flynn at (352) 247-7716 or via e-mail. You can also visit https://www.lregsi.com/.