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Part of Nixa home collapses into giant hole

Monday, August 14, 2006

NIXA, Mo. -- A leisurely Sunday morning turned frightening for one southwest Missouri man when a giant sinkhole opened up and swallowed a portion of his home, including his garage and a car parked inside.

The homeowner was reading the paper when the ground started shifting around 8:30 a.m. Initially, the man thought a tornado was responsible for the loud rumble, said city spokesman Bryan Newberry.

No one was hurt, but at least six other homes in a half-block area were evacuated while geologists evaluated the widening hole. It measured between 55 and 65 feet in diameter and about 75 feet deep.

Newberry said the geologists, including one from Missouri State University, were considering several possibilities, including that an underground cavern gave way.

By early evening, only two homes remained off limits -- the partially collapsed residence and another home to the north of it. Newberry said the neighborhood was built in the late 1960s.

"These homes had been there without problems until this point," he said.

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