A massive sinkhole is threatening a pair of homes in a Camarillo neighborhood on Friday.
The 30-foot-by-30-foot active sinkhole in the 700 block of Trueno Avenue was reported by the Ventura County Fire Department at about 11:15 a.m.
The hole opened up in a backyard between a pair of homes that face Grada Avenue, threatening the stability of all residences in the immediate area, officials said.
In an update, the Fire Department said 16 people were evacuated.
The sinkhole was likely the product of continuous heavy rainfall, resulting in a troubling amount of runoff from flooding.
“It’s definitely different than anything that we’ve ever seen before,” said Joey Martin, a Ventura County resident. “These are like once-in-a-generation-type of storms that we’ve been seeing.”
Officials shared footage showing muddy runoff that rushed down the hillside before compromising a storm drain that ultimately opened up the sinkhole.
“Runoff, or anytime you encounter moving water, it’s always dangerous,” explained Officer Andy VanSciver with VCFD. “It seems like it’s not much, but the speed of the water can easily sweep people off their feet.”
A county geologist arrived at the scene while crews were “sandbagging to divert water from the sinkhole,” officials said, a move that appeared to be successful.
“It’s dangerous for everybody who lives on a hillside and hopefully with all these debris flows it’s not going into these houses,” said Camarillo resident, Kevin Gonzalez. “We’re just concerned that the hillside here can open up and take out some of these houses, but hopefully not.”
Sinkholes have plagued Southern California over the past several weeks as a series of rainstorms have eroded areas under roadways.
Those who live and work by the Ventura Harbor have suffered thousands of dollars in damage during January’s storms. They secured their equipment on Friday while bracing for more wet weather this weekend.
In Chatsworth, a sinkhole swallowed cars in January. Other sinkholes have appeared on the campus of California State University Los Angeles and in the Pico-Union neighborhood of Los Angeles.