Sinkhole in Winter Haven Publix parking lot 'slowing in growth' - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Sinkhole in Winter Haven Publix parking lot 'slowing in growth'

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The sink hole is about 5 feet deep and 30 feet wide, however police say the parking lot continues to buckle in areas out from the hole. The sink hole is about 5 feet deep and 30 feet wide, however police say the parking lot continues to buckle in areas out from the hole.
A sinkhole has developed in a Winter Haven Publix parking lot located at 6031 Cypress Gardens Blvd. A sinkhole has developed in a Winter Haven Publix parking lot located at 6031 Cypress Gardens Blvd.
WINTER HAVEN, FL (WFLA) -

A massive sinkhole in the Winter Haven Square parking lot is slowing in growth, which officials said Thursday afternoon is very encouraging.

The sink hole has grown to about 15 feet deep and 70 feet wide, three times the size first reported by police. The large sinkhole developed Thursday morning in the parking lot at the Publix located at 6031 Cypress Gardens Blvd.

Property managers have recommended three businesses, China Garden, Rainbow and Jade Nails and Spa, close through the weekend, at least. These three businesses sit in the direction the sinkhole spread Thursday morning.

Geologists from SAFE, based out of Miami, said the growth of the hole had slowed as of Thursday afternoon. They will let the hole stabilize before they start repairs.

Winter Haven Police say no injuries have been reported. FDOT crews were at the scene Thursday morning to make sure the roadway in front of the store has not been compromised.

At this time, there has been no structure damage to the building, which houses Publix, K-Mart and a host of smaller businesses. No evacuation has been ordered at this time.

Geologists on site used radar to determine the severity of the sinkhole and said the area surrounding the site is safe.

Millie Dean arrived to her job as a floral arranger at the Publix at Winter Haven Square around 5:45 a.m. Thursday morning and noticed a buckle in the parking lot.

She told those inside they should move their cars. She laughed that nobody believed her but now, more than 100 parking spots are blocked off.

Brian Swain, property manager of Winter Haven Square said public safety is top priority. He can’t put an exact time on when repairs will begin, but hopes to start this weekend. He wants it to happen as quickly as possible, he said.

Security guards monitored the parking lot through the night, keeping onlookers outside the section that was taped off. Dozens stopped to take photos and watch in awe.

“I’m a sinkhole chaser,” Jeanne Roberts said.

Geologists and property manager Brian Swain are expected back on scene Friday morning.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.


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