SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

August 13, 2013

Sinkhole swallows part of resort

CLERMONT, Fla. — It sounded like a thunderstorm as windows broke and the ground shook, but vacationers who were awakened from their rooms at a villa near Orlando soon realized that the building was starting to collapse — parts of it swallowed by a 100-foot sinkhole that also endangered two neighboring resort buildings.

By early yesterday, 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, and inspectors remained on the scene yesterday afternoon to determine whether the other two buildings near the sinkhole — a common occurrence in Florida — would be safe to re-enter.

The first sign of trouble came about 10:30 Sunday night. Security guard Richard Shanley had just started his shift, and he heard what sounded like shouting from a building.

A guest flagged him down to report that a window had blown out. Shanley reported it to management, and another window popped. The resort’s staff decided to evacuate the villa.

Shanley said the building seemed to sink by 10 to 20 inches and bannisters began to fall off the building as he ran up and down three floors trying to wake guests. One couple with a baby on the third floor couldn’t get their door open and had to break a window to get out, he said.

“It’s a scary situation,” Shanley said, and guests credited him with saving lives by knocking on doors to wake them. Inside, they heard what sounded like thunder and then the storm of water, as if it were a storm. Evacuation took about 10 to 15 minutes, according to staff and witnesses.

Amy Jedele heard screams coming from one of adjacent buildings around 10:30 p.m., and several minutes later, the sounds of sirens. She and her fiance, Darren Gade, went outside. “That’s when you could hear the pops and the metal, the concrete and the glass breaking,” she said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • North Shore couple’s divorce tests state’s new alimony law MARBLEHEAD -- In one of the first legal challenges of the state's 2011 alimony reform law, the Supreme Judicial Court has concluded that a Marblehead woman is entitled to no more than five years of "rehabilitative" alimony from her investment analyst

    August 2, 2014

  • Market Basket board: Get back to work or don't get paid Market Basket's co-chief executives have warned dozens of corporate employees who have not been to work in two weeks that they will not be paid for August unless and until they get back on the job, the latest escalation against revolting employees as

    August 2, 2014

  • WATERWORKS_3 Salem State students' sculptures adorn water at Cat Cove

    SALEM -- That is not an invasive species out in Cat Cove, or some funky new style of paddleboard. The colorful items floating in the water next to Winter Island are sculptures from a weeklong class at Salem State. "The course is called Art 340; it's

    August 2, 2014 5 Photos

  • North Shore Community Calendar Saturday, Aug. 2 Salem: Church Yard Sale, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Church, 124 Bridge St. Church-sponsored yard sale features household goods, children's items, furniture, Ukrainian folk items and more. All proceeds go toward

    August 2, 2014

  • Couture North Shore riders take on Pan-Mass Challenge

    About 150 riders from the North Shore are joining more than 5,000 others this weekend in the 35th Pan-Mass Challenge, a bicycle ride to raise money for cancer care and research. Some will pedal more than 190 miles in two days, while others will tackl

    August 2, 2014 4 Photos 1 Story