DUNEDIN, Fla. (WTSP) -- A Florida family is still in shock after a sinkhole swallowed parts of their home.
Ivy Dupre woke up stunned to the sounds of a sinkhole starting to swallow her home Thursday morning.
"I wasn't sure if it was real at first. I thought maybe it was a joke, because I couldn't believe actually that it was happening," said Ivy.
Confused about what she was hearing, the 13-year-old ran over to wake her parents.
"She came into the room saying, 'Daddy, Daddy someone is trying to get into the house!'" said Michael Dupre.
Michael quickly reacted as his protective instincts kicked in.
"I grabbed a rifle and start walking through the house so I could see what was going on, and I hear the banging... and as I approach the back of the house and I see our back screen room just sticking out three feet off the ground. I knew instantly it opened up," said Michael.
That opening swallowed the porch, a back bedroom and the neighbor's pool. The Dupres did manage to salvage some of their things before getting out.
"We decided, 'Oh let's get the truck out and the boat has to go, so that's gone," said Michael.
The family is remaining positive as reality continues to set in.
"I couldn't believe it. I didn't think it was going to be a sinkhole. I thought maybe [it was] just the wind or someone trying to break in. But I never expected this," said Michael.
The Red Cross is offering shelter and help the Dupres and other families affected by the sinkhole. The shelter will be at First Presbyterian Church located at 705 Michigan Blvd in Dunedin.
Sinkhole still growing
Officials say the sinkhole has grown to 70 feet in diameter and 53 feet deep, and it is still growing.
Half a dozen homes nearby have been evacuated as a precaution. At least three homes, including the Dupre family's house, are directly affected by the sinkhole and show signs of cracks and other damage. One home is already condemned, with a second on the verge of being declared so.
Neighbors tell 10 News homes in the area are swarmed with sinkhole-related damage. A house one street over is reportedly undergoing major repairs, while another was abandoned by owner.
Sinkholes are common in Florida because the peninsula is made up of porous carbonate rocks such as limestone that store and help move water underground. Over time, the rocks can dissolve from an acid created from oxygen in water, creating a void under the limestone roof. When dirt, clay or sand gets too heavy for the limestone roof, it can collapse, creating a sinkhole.
On Feb. 28, Jeffrey Bush died when a sinkhole opened under his bedroom in Seffner, near Tampa. His body was never recovered. In August, sections of a building at a resort near Orlando collapsed into a sinkhole. No one was injured in that sinkhole.
State officials say three counties in the Tampa region are known as "sinkhole alley." Two-thirds of the sinkhole damage claims reported to the state Office of Insurance Regulation between 2006 and 2010 came from Hernando, Hillsborough and Pasco counties. Dunedin is in neighboring Pinellas County.