Experts are surveying the damage from a sinkhole in an affluent Knox County neighborhood.
(WBIR-West Knox County) A sinkhole sent crews rushing to an affluent neighborhood in West Knox County, working to stabilize the property.
The sinkhole opened up Thursday night, next to the driveway of the home, located on Polo Club Lane, down the street from the Gettysvue Country Club building.
According to D&D Underground LLC, the sinkhole had grown four feet deeper since it opened, and was about 18-feet-deep and 30-feet-round Friday afternoon. Utility workers said it swallowed a 25-foot-tall tree.
Jim Snowden, Deputy Director of Knox County Engineering and Public Works, said it's not the first sinkhole to open in the upscale neighborhood.
"Over on Double Eagle Lane, which is a street in here, there was a sinkhole that opened up," said Snowden. "This is the second one in this subdivision that I'm aware of. And obvioulsy East Tennessee has a lot of limestone, and it's common place."
Crews said the homeowner could not get cars out of the garage, worried the driveway would collapse.
While geotech experts surveyed the damage, utility crews worked on a burst water pipe. Officials were not sure whether the broken pipe caused the sinkhole, or the sinkhole caused the line to burst.
"It's too early to speculate," said Bruce Giles, with First Utility District. "Unfortunately with the topography in East Tennessee, I think it's (sinkholes) pretty common. We deal with it on construction sites and I've talked to residents here and they're aware of other issues as well."
Residents said one of those issues is caves. The Knoxville Fire Department has responded to a couple of rescues, in 2002 and 2009, where cavers were stuck near the Gettysvue Country Club building. It was unclear if the caves go back as far as the property.
As for the damage, crews said preliminary estimates showed repairs could cost at least $100,000.
Tennessee and Florida are states that require insurance companies to provide sinkhole coverage. Local agents said the amount of coverage and what is covered varies, depending on the carrier. Some have low limits, like $5,000 per claim. Others have special criteria that must be met in order to qualify for coverage.
"I recommend that everyone calls their agent and asks what their policy covers," said Mike Lewis, with State Farm Insurance.
"Hopefully they found it (the sinkhole) soon enough and they can address it without further damage to the home," said Snowden.