Sinkholes displace Central Florida residents after 'water explosions'

OCALA, Fla. - (WESH/NBC) - Several homes in Ocala, Fla., were forced to evacuate Wednesday after at least four sinkholes opened up near their houses.

"It makes me real uncomfortable even going close to my house," said evacuee Shannon Cole.

Video shows what seemed to start the problem by the Wynchase Townhomes: water and mud, shooting into the air in this pond.

One resident told the Ocala Star-Banner they described the phenomenon as five "water explosions."

Ocala Fire Rescue and local police told Orlando-based NBC station WESH that the problem may be linked to an irrigation water main break.‬

Soon after the video was recorded, the sinkholes formed.

Cole and his family had to evacuate, along with people living in seven other units.

"It looks like the sinkholes got a little bit worse overnight," said Cole.

Engineers at the site said Thursday that the big concern is making sure whatever is causing the holes is not stretching under the building.

They spent Thursday morning running tests to determine when or if it's safe for residents to return to their homes.

"Judging by the size of the sinkholes I don't think it will be anytime soon. Really just hoping that I can move my stuff out for now, maybe find another place," said Cole.

The city engineer said test results could come back as early as Thursday afternoon.

Depending on what they show, it could be weeks before those eight units are considered safe.

Courtesy WESH via NBC News Channel