The massive sinkhole that took down a resort building near Disney World in Clermont, FL is gaining national attention.
LRE Foundation Repair was recently contacted by a reporter regarding sinkholes in Florida. The reporter, Tina Kaiser, published the story in Germany's largest newspaper, "Welt am Sontag."
Click here to read the article (but you'll need a translator because it's published in German). :)
Or, below is the Google translation of the article from German to English.
He had sounded like exploding popcorn, said an eyewitness later that survived the collapse of a hotel in Florida. In the late evening of last Sunday we went. A window shattered in the three-story building near Orlando.
Minutes later rattled the next window pane into a thousand pieces, the railing collapsed, doors did not open. Frantically woke the night porter every 105 guests. Just in time, because after the building was evacuated, it began to sink into the ground. A sinkhole swallowed with 30 meters in diameter around a third of the hotel complex.
The case in Clermont near Orlando caused in recent days nationwide headlines in the United States. It rarely happens that an entire house disappears into the ground. Hand suddenly appearing cesspools are commonplace in Florida.
Due to the special geological conditions of the southern state passes in Florida, not a day on which the earth opens up somewhere. Many millions of dollars of damage incurred as year after year.
Living at the "Sinkhole Alley"
Especially the area around the city of Tampa is greatly affected. People call the strip of land so "Sinkhole Alley" (cesspools Avenue), in reference to the "Tornado Alley" sweep the cyclones in the U.S. Midwest, through every summer.
From the cesspools-Plage is a highly profitable industry has developed. The American occupation of "meaning remediators" (Senkgrubenbeseitiger) is highly in demand in Florida. "Over the past five years, the demand for our services is virtually exploding," said Jim Flynn.
The manager works for LRE Foundation Repair Repair, the market leader in the elimination of septic tanks in Florida. In recent years, the company has 130 employees on its workforce more than doubled. "Our teams move almost every day a new case," says Flynn. LRE fill 300 potholes per year.
Number of incidents has tripled
If you look at the number of reported sinkholes in insurance in Florida, the increase is dramatic. Such insured losses in 2360 were still registered in 2006, there were 2010 with 6694 almost three times as many. More recent data are not available.
In some of the cases of damage if it were likely to Insurance Fraud, says Flynn. In the past, insurance companies often simply paid out of money, the customer could then decide for themselves whether he had to fill the hole if there ever was one.
"Because the scams have increased in recent years, the government in 2011, the law increases the burden of proof for insurance claims of this kind," says Flynn. Nevertheless, the demand for LRE is unbroken.
The main reason for the enormous number of sinkholes in Florida is the special nature of the soil. Florida sits in large parts of the state on limestone. This is both porous and brittle.
"If, for example by heavy rain created a hole in the limestone, forming a crater about it," says Flynn. Like the sand in an hourglass everything would sucked at the surface to the abyss.
But there are also human error that determine the burrows. "Several years ago we used to have a case in which a man has buried tree trunks under his building," says Flynn. When the wood had rotted in the ground, the floor above gave way and created cracks in the house.
Groundwater fell 20 meters
In another case three years ago, farmers had water pumped in Plant City from the ground to save the strawberry harvest. They lowered the water table by 20 meters. "Around 80 cesspools were opened as a result of which in the area."
One reason for the increased number of claims is also the boom before the financial crisis. "There was in the area around Tampa hardly free land," says Flynn. So people would have to build in areas that are known for their cesspools floor. "When it opens a hole in a field, no one minds." Is it a home, however, it may be expensive.
"Our average bill is $ 65,000 per hole." LRE would also have been getting up to $ 300,000 (225,000 euros) for a job. In most cases, the job of the company is to close the hole with concrete and to provide the related houses as a better foundation.
Early to get help
Often the cesspools make early noticeable through cracks around buildings, cracked windows and warped door frame. "We advise people to get help as early as possible."
Only one percent of the cases, a Erdkrater open so fast that you do not have time for preventive measures. That was last weekend at the hotel in Clermont the case.
Thank God people would rarely injured, Flynn says. However, a tragic accident occurred on 28 February of this year in the small town of Seffner, 25 kilometers east of Tampa. Middle of the night, a sinkhole opened up under the house of Jeffrey Bush. The 36-year-old was snapped with his bed into the depths. His body was never found.