Deep hole appears between south Fort Myers homes, prompts evacuation

A deep hole formed between two homes on Hidden Estates Circle in the south Fort Myers Hidden Harbor community.

The hole appears to be between 8 to 10 feet deep and 12 feet wide as of 11 a.m. Tuesday, and is at least six feet from the nearest home, according to San Carlos Park Fire Rescue.

The formation of the hole has prompted two homes to be evacuated.

A Lee County Department of Community Development building inspector performed an assessment to determine what if any damage may have occurred to those homes.

They declared one home a “dangerous building,” which means it is deemed unsafe and occupancy is prohibited until permits are pulled, repair work is done and an inspection is completed.

The homeowner, the developer, and the HOA have been notified and the county said they will assist parties involved as needed to ensure permits are processed as efficiently as possible.

We spoke with a man who lives in that home as he was on his way out. He didn’t want to go on camera but he said he has to find a place to stay until the engineers figure out what caused the hole.

The first step in that process is to determine if it is a sinkhole or something else.

We asked a geologist with FGCU what he thinks may be happening.

Dr. Thomas M. Missimer, the director of Emerging Technologies institute at FGCU, said, “Typically you have some sand, anywhere from a few feet to 20 feet, and then you have the limestone. And where that limestone occurs you get some cavities that form over a series of thousands of years and periodically you get some collapses.”

If this is indeed a sinkhole, that could be bad news for the homeowners.

Most insurance policies require a special rider for sinkholes.

If there’s another explanation. Who is responsible to fix what’s happening could be up for debate.

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