Sinkhole in the Village of Buttonwood re-expands by five to eight feet

Sinkhole in The Village of Buttonwood
Villages Public Safety assisted by Community Watch were keeping everyone a safe distance from the site of a sinkhole in The Village of Buttonwood Wednesday morning

A walker discovered at 6 a.m. today that the Buttonwood Heights sinkhole expanded overnight by another 5 to 8 feet.

Villages Public Safety and Community Watch were back at the site at Chalmer Terrace this morning keeping the curious and the media further back from the scene than they had been allowed this past weekend.

Rich Corr, who lives next door to the house which had been at the center of the sinkhole drama, said this morning he and his wife are packing their bags.

“We don’t know if we are going to have to go or what,” he said.

Corr said water has been shut off to several houses in the neighborhood, although their water was still on.

He also said several neighbors had been asked by public safety to move their cars out of the area.

The sinkhole was originally discovered in January. Remediation work had been ongoing at the site, however the sinkhole dramatically expanded Saturday. It was estimated to be 60 feet deep at its deepest.

A geologist from Bracken Engineering of Tampa on Easter morning declared the site “a save.”

Jay Silver, president of Helicon Property Restoration, which had been hired by the homeowner’s insurance company was out Monday afternoon talking to the media and handing out Sinkhole Survival Kits to residents.

Bracken and Helicon were reportedly heading back to the scene this morning.

Keep checking back at for details on this developing story.

Bracken Engineering is supposed to be at a Mallory Hill sinkhole site later this week. Learn more at the link below:



  1. I posted this once before and it must have been taken down because of the thought that I posed. After reading the following of many reasons for the appearance of a sink hole, it seems a developer could be held liable and responsible for a sink hole appearance.
    One of many reasons is:
    Sinkholes can also form when natural water-drainage patterns are changed and new water-diversion systems are developed. Some sinkholes form when the land surface is changed, such as when industrial and runoff-storage ponds are created; the substantial weight of the new material can trigger an underground collapse of supporting material, thus causing a sinkhole.
    “There’s hardly a place in Florida that’s immune to sinkholes,” Sandy Nettles, the owner of a geology consulting company in the Tampa area, told the Associated Press.
    If there is a sink hole in your neighborhood unfortunately the insurance companies frown upon this and pull the sink hole insurance or refuse to give sink hole insurance. You may get it after an inspection ort you may not.

  2. Our union was self insured because of the cost and coverage. We hired an insurance company to handle all the paper work and pay claims. The members of the union had a lot of input as far as coverage. We paid the insurance company a certain percentage of the premiums to handle everything for us, including their advise. This might be worth considering if you want to be self insured.
    It could be a lot cheaper, less stressful and you would not be refused coverage if your property is in The Villages.

  3. I wonder if anyone did an inspetion of the flood water sewer lines and drains? I know of a sink hole that was located near my residence and upon a thorough inspection, it was found that the drain pipes were not secured to each other and that every time it rained, gallons of water seeped deep within the ground, creating a good size sink-hole.

  4. To Mary, Ron Tom and other interested parties for sinkhole coverage. In regards to my suggestion on self insurance if you wold like to have an initial kickoff meeting, I’ll be happy to host. You may contact me at 352-693-5955 or email I don’t know if we could make this work, but I believe it’s worth a discussion. My background is not insurance or legal, but engineering, but I just wanted to put some ideas out for discussion. We reside in the Village of Sanibel and have been unable to get sinkhole coverage.

    Regards, Carl

  5. First off, stop talking about condemnation of property as a negative thing. If you have a sink hole near your home – you want your property to be condemned, especially if you have Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse coverage vs sinkhole coverage. Second, as much as I criticize the developer for irresponsible development when it comes to traffic (especially around Colony), in fairness he is not liable for sinkholes. They happen in Florida and without much notice. There is no test that you can do years in advance that will tell you where sink holes will occur.

    • It sounds like Carl has done some very interesting calculations. Could we organize a meeting of concerned homeowners to see about the feasibility of his ideas to spread the risk? It sounds like the insurance companies only want to cover sinkholes only if you don’t need the protection.

  6. In regards to all the issues and insurance surrounding sinkholes in The Villages, I was wondering if we could self insure. Looking for something simple, that will cover all of us who wish to participate. Just a brief idea is that all who wished would contribute to a fund operated by Villagers for Villagers. Without getting to complex, I was wondering if something like a fund where all who wanted would pay and annual fee to have their property covered and the payment decisions would be made by a group of Villagers who wold serve as a payout board. First just some raw numbers. If we had 50,000 homes insured at somewhere between $100 & $ 200 per house each year, the following numbers may be applicable. Example, a house under $200,000 would pay $100 each year and as the house price moved up in $50,000 increments the insurance annual payment would be increased by $20 for each $50,000 of value. Example a $300,000 house would pay $140 per year, a $400,000 house $180 per year or a house $200,000 or under would pay $100 per year. To keep the math simple, if we had 50,000 houses at $100 each per year that would generate $5,000,000 per year. Likewise if 50 village homes each sustained $50,000 worth of damage, that would require $2,500,000 from the common fund. Obviously there are a number of details to be worked out but it may be feasible and reasonable, to where we all pitch in to help the few who need assistance. I don’t believe in the history of the villages there have been more that 50 homes damaged. The fund would be essentially a non-profit fund to benefit the participants. I don’t know if there are any legal impediments to a common pool fund like this. Even if a few homes were totally lost to sinkholes I believe we could set the fund to cover this catastrophe

    • That is a very interesting idea. It may be worth exploring further. There are a lot of facets to this but perhaps self-insuring is feasible. We’d need a trustworthy attorney and someone with a financial background perhaps to invest the money, a board to administer the program, etc. I’d be interested in attending a meeting on this.

    • We’ve been waiting since 2011 for remediation from our home owners insurance. We had The Hartford since the house was built in 1994. They refused to renew when our neighbor had a sinkhole. We got another homeowners policy through a Florida Ins. Co. When a big crack went through our house slab a few months later we reported it. The insurance co. delayed and delayed, finally refused to fix it. We had to get a lawyer specializing in sinkhole law. Today, the case goes on and on.

  7. Don, when we moved here over a year ago, we purchased sinkhole insurance with complete coverage. When the policy was renewed, that rider was eliminated, and a 10% sinkhole deductible added. I have called a number of insurance brokers, and none offer the more complete coverage. Can you post the name of the insurance carrier that offers the more complete coverage? Does anyone know of an insurance with the more complete coverage? Thanks!

  8. I was told by the insurance company that before you are approved for sinkhole insurance, a engineer inspection is required at your expense. I was also told that if you file a claim, even though you have insurance, and have had an inspection, the claim can still be denied. This was the case with a home in Amelia a few years back. The decision lies completely on the insurance company which is inclined to deny due to repair costs. With this information, why buy sinkhole insurance?

    • Nancy, I have asked that question to myself a few times, understanding what the coverages do helps. i am a local insurance agent and can tell you i inform my clients with the pros and cons. the inspection is required unless the home is brand new constuction & does not have a sinkhole in a 10 mile radius. Understand that if a whole surfaces and takes down the home EVERYONE has coverage for that on their homeowners policy. However “sinkhole coverage” can help in some cases where the home may not be condemmed or unlivable. Getting the inspection to pass is another story & having a 10% ded is awful. I don’t come on here to defend what insurance companies have done to lessen their risk in this claims situation, I only can say the one whos abuse the claims system are the ones we should be angry with. Because up until a few years ago like some have been stating it was also automaticly on the policy. typically what i have seen if you have a frame built home with vial siding vs. a block built home with stucco you will have a better chance of getting approved.

  9. Gary Morse is not responsible for the sinkhole. Nor is he responsible for hurricanes, lightning strikes or any other natural disasters in Florida. The sinkholes are not due to any negligence on the developers part. Google sinkholes in Florida. We aren’t even in the TOP county where they occur. I am indeed sorry for their troubles but do not see why Gary Morse should call the person affected.

  10. Can anyone tell me where I can purchase sinkhole insurance? The # that was provided earlier on this site for Clifford Ins. didn’t prove to be productive. They informed me as all other Agencies I have contacted in the past that they are not writing any new policy’s with sinkhole coverage. They all have continued with the statement that all Florida homes are covered for “Catastrophic Ground Collapse ” which causes the home to be deemed unsafe for habitation! While I am aware of this, it certainly will not provide any coverage for any of the “Sinkholes” outside of those parameters! Costs to protect your home from further damage after a sinkhole occurs could be prohibitive to many.
    Any information regarding this matter would certainly be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    • Andy Anderson insurance in Leesburg which is Nationwide insurance ! I had to have an inspection done before I was approved ! They will also inform you no guarantee for sinkhole insurance. You can speak to Holly there! The number is 352-323-8190

  11. This is terrible news. Our concern and prayers are with this entire neighborhood.

    We were raised in a town that had a lot of mine subsidence, another form of sinkhole, and my school was closed due to a sinkhole. The “experts” said the best place in town to build a new school was right back on the site because it was safe. When the new school was finished it fell in too. A new school was built about a mile away.

    Lawsuits were filed and it was several years after we left town before there was a settlement. The State had to finally step in. It could be the State of Florida may have to pass legislation to protect homeowners in the State of Florida.

    • I contacted Clifford Ins yesterday after reading your previous post. I was told that an inspection must be done on both old and new homes in order to buy sinkhole coverage. He went on to say that if even a small settlement hairline crack is found, it will be denied. Additionally, he said he has only seen a couple of homes pass in the past few years. So, how are you supposed to buy sinkhole coverage?

      • I totally understand that everyone is concered about “sinkholes” in the villages right now. Understanding each coverage helps a little to ease the worry. I have been a local an agent for over 15 years and have extensive training in this field. “sinkhole” is a real word term when the hole surfaces and takes down your home. Like they show on the news. Everyone who has a home insurance policy has this coverage it’s called Catosrophic Ground Cover Collapse (CGCC), it is automatic, nothing required to obtaining it. Now “sinkhole coverage” in the insurance industry has diffrent meaning… this is obtained by an inspection & has a 10% ded. You will want to way the pros and cons before trying to obtain the coverage, it may or may not be somehting you want to worry yourself with. The coverage is used when the home (roof line only) is not affected by a sinkhole. which means that if you have a hole in the back part of your property that appers that coverage may take care of the cost to repair it, if the independent engineering company deems it a sinkhole. This is the key, it has to be labled a sinkhole to be covered, and as mant know Florida is a Pinisula and there is a huge aquafer flowing under us and with the pockets underneath us sometimes the earth moves and shifts and those holes are filled, which would be considered settling. Bazzar i know. I wish there was a company out there who offered the coverage automaticlly with out question, however in the business world it is not a great idea to take on such liability when you know it is going to be a huge loss, because of the past experiance. All i can say is make sure you do your reserch and call several independent agents for thier expert advice, and take out the policy you bought and read it. I would be a happy to help and educate anyone i can with this stressful matter

  12. This is not even being considered… The people involved will never be able to sell their house, would you buy it? Also, from previous photos…concrete, to almost ground level, in a huge area of repair, even if a “save” how would you get anything to grow on top of that? No grass, no trees and no scrubs. Florida is one of the largest problem areas for sink holes…we all should know that and have good insurance. This incident makes big news but in 5 years here this is the worst I have read about. This is not really all that bad for the population and size of our “city”.

  13. How about the esteemed developer conducting a survey of the properties he is SPRAWLING into for a profit; to have THAT area deemed safe for people and not just profit??? Seems this could all be avoided if a survey of the land were done ahead of time..instead of after the fact…but that would interrupt his cash flow….how much is enough…400% mark-up on a home; the bond goes in his pocket and the impact fee into someone else’s….

  14. The next question is how wide is the safety zone? If they start condemning property, how far away from the sink hole? Must be horrible to plan an evacuation and wonder how much time you will have for moving furniture and household items, plus knowing you might have to carry it a couple of blocks to a truck! Prayers are with all involved.

    • As an owner of one of the two homes barely hanging on,” thank you” to those of you who expressed concern and prayers. Yes, it would be nice to hear from the Morse family. I think they could use a little positive PR right now by offering help and support to those at risk of losing their dreams.

      • Dear Barbara, we are SO thinking of you all. I just wish there was something I could do for you. My heart is breaking for you all having to go through this nightmare. God be with you and guide you. I will be saying a lot of prayers for you.