Last night, a man awoke to a very real nightmare as the floor of his bedroom collapsed out from under him. The sinkhole that spawned beneath his home in Florida simply enveloped the room — and its sole occupant — with no warning, leaving almost nothing behind.
The man's brother, elsewhere in the house, rushed to the scene but found no sign of the man. Hillsborough county fire rescue spokeswoman Jessica Damico put it this way:
When he got there, there was no bedroom left. There was no furniture. All he saw was a piece of the mattress sticking up. ...We put engineering equipment into the sinkhole and didn't see anything compatible with life.
But she stopped short of saying the man is presumed dead.
Sinkholes are common in Florida, especially its central regions, because the majority of the state is on a foundation of limestone. The natural (and unnatural) acids in rain eat away at that foundation slowly over time, weakening it until the surface snaps without warning, devouring whatever lies above. There's not much anyone can do to prevent them beside just staying out of the way. Be glad your morning has been going a little bit better. [The Guardian, Gawker]