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
  • Superior officers still without a contract

    BEVERLY -- Contract negotiations between the city and the Beverly Police Superior Officers Association remain at an impasse nearly three years after their last agreement expired. The two sides have met with a mediator several times, including last Fr

    April 18, 2014

  • Lederman decides against vying for school board seat

    MARBLEHEAD -- Controversial former school board member Jonathan Lederman has decided to abandon his quest to regain a seat on the committee. "I was -- for the record -- a reluctant candidate," he said. But he feels that on the heels of announcing hi

    April 18, 2014

  • Danvers won't have farmers market this year

    DANVERS -- The Rotary Club has withdrawn its proposal to open a farmers market downtown, saying the idea needs more time to take root. Instead, they hope to return to selectmen next year with a more comprehensive plan. "It wasn't an easy decision by

    April 18, 2014

  • North Shore residents to run in 2014 Boston Marathon

    The Salem News asked those on the North Shore who are running this year's Boston Marathon to share their reasons for running. 

    If you're running the marathon this year, it's not too late to share why you're running. Send a brief paragraph, a photo of yourself and a link to your fundraising site (if applicable) to Cheryl Richardson at crichardson@salemnews.com.

    April 17, 2014

  • chesskid Brace yourself, 'Salem' is now a TV show SALEM -- Ready or not, here comes "Salem." On Sunday night at 10, WGN American will debut its new series about the Salem Witch Trials, an attempt by a largely regional cable station to grab a national audience. The show has been much ballyhooed as th

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos