Sinkhole opens in Blount County yard

by Michael Mosher on March 18, 2014

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LOUISVILLE (WATE) – Heavy rain caused many trees to uproot in East Tennessee, but in a Louisville yard an uprooted tree revealed a bigger problem.

A growing sink hole appeared Sunday in the Wilsons’ yard on Light Pink Road.

The family had just returned from church around noon, when they discovered a tree had fallen on their house. Then they saw the large sinkhole underneath the tree.

Hours later, they say, the sinkhole has doubled in size. It’s now about 25 feet wide and about 20 feet deep.

“Our daughter’s bedroom is right in front by the tree, so everyone slept on the other side of the house just in case the tree moved,” said Kaila Wilson.

Wilson says she is afraid the sinkhole will get bigger.

“The tree is coming off today,” said Wilson. “The tree people will be here soon to get it off, so our biggest concern now is the hole. We just found out our homeowner’s insurance isn’t going to cover it.”

Tennessee’s Department of Commerce and Insurance says it is state law for insurance companies to make available sinkhole coverage, but it is not required.

They also say many times the sinkhole has to be causing damage to the home for the insurance policy to kick in.

Brad Dean, owner of East Tennessee Foundation Repairs and Drainage Systems, says getting a sinkhole fixed can cost thousands.    

“A sinkhole is going to be two to three times the size that you can physically see,” said Dean.

Dean says sinkholes are common in East Tennessee, and it would be smart for people to see if sinkholes are covered in their homeowner’s insurance.

He says sinkholes can be very dangerous.

“I would definitely be looking at staying toward the opposite corner of the home,” said Dean.

Dean says the biggest cost is determining exactly what is causing the sinkhole before they can fill it in.

6 News called several insurance companies to find out how much adding sinkhole coverage would cost, but none of them wanted to talk about this type of coverage on camera.

Full article…here

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