Florida resort and sinkhole

A Florida time-share resort where a sinkhole devoured a building Sunday night said that it is open for business and next week’s guests should “come on down.”
Paul Caldwell – the general manager of Summer Bay Resorts, which is located 6 miles from Walt Disney World – made the pitch to guests at a news conference on Tuesday. He said that geological and structural testing under way on the 100-foot wide cavern and the surrounding buildings should be complete by Wednesday.

Florida resort and sinkhole

Florida resort.

It sounded like a thunderstorm as windows broke and the ground shook, but vacationers who were awakened at a resort villa near Orlando, Fla., soon realized the building was starting to collapse — parts of it swallowed by a 100-foot sinkhole that also endangered two neighboring buildings.
By early Monday, nearly a third of the structure at Summer Bay Resort had collapsed. All 105 guests staying in the villa were evacuated, as were those in the neighboring buildings. No injuries were reported. The villa (with 24 three-story units) was reported as a total loss.
Inspectors remained on the scene Monday afternoon to determine whether the other two buildings near the sinkhole (a common occurrence in Florida) would be safe to re-enter.

Guests at the Summer Bay Resort in Clermont, about 10 minutes from Walt Disney World, called for help before the collapse, saying they heard loud noises and windows cracking. All guests inside the buildings — an estimated 35 people, authorities said – were evacuated before the first structure crumbled.
A roughly 15-foot-deep crater swallowed much of one building, Lake County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Tony Cuellar said. Aerial video from CNN affiliate WFTV showed one end of the building – which had held two-bedroom, two-bathroom villas – still standing, but the rest reduced to a pile of debris.
The evacuation started after 10:30 p.m., when a guest told a security guard about a “window blowing out,” said resort president Paul Caldwell.
After another window broke in the guard’s presence, the guard called a co-worker and, together, they got everybody out.
“He estimated, I think, about 40 minutes after everyone was evacuated, the big fall came” – Caldwell said about the first guard.
“His quick thinking, in my opinion, saved lives, or limbs, or injuries” – he said.
No injuries were reported.

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