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Sinkhole safety

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Engineers towing enormous drills rolled into summer bay Tuesday morning, as developers in Florida assess the damage and try to make sure the other 52 buildings on the resort are safe.

Paul Caldwell, Summer Bay Resorts president, "We expect insurance people and our own adjustors to be here today to start work. Too early to say what will happen."

The building is a total loss, but Caldwell says they will continue to develop this area, even though it is prone to such sinkholes.

Across central and western Florida there are more than 19,000 known sinkholes, and likely many more unknown.


Frank Vitale, Ground services, " Basically your Tampa Bay area or your central Florida area is really they call it 'sinkhole alley' just about. And if you're a home buyer, a new home buyer looking to relocate, you definitely got to think about that."

Florida law requires insurers to cover "Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse," but that's not all sinkhole damage. To get the catastrophic, the building has to be condemned. For minor damage, you would have to have added that to your policy.

Insurance claims submitted in Florida alone between 2006 and 2010 totaled $1.4 billion, according a Florida Senate report.

Vitale's company has been fixing sinkholes for 25 years and done over 4500 jobs. Business has picked up lately, he says.

"There's over 100 contractors in the state of Florida that do the same kind of work, so it's a big industry in Florida."

You would think images like this would drive homeowners and investors away, but one, who escaped this disaster Sunday, says he's keeping his other timeshares Florida.

Herbert Underwood, Timeshare investor, "Well that's nature. You can't kick nature to the curb. It could happen at your backyard at home. But you never know."

Sinkhole activity in Florida has definitely picked up in just the last three years according to several studies.

Some blame overdevelopment, as builders continue to spread their backhoes across the state, digging into ground that has been unstable for thousands of years.

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