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South Jersey Residents Told To Evacuate As Their Homes Sit On Brink Of Massive Hole

By Cleve Bryan

FLORENCE Twp., NJ (CBS) -- Two Burlington County homes sit on the edge of disaster after the land in their backyards gives way.

Now the clock is ticking to see what can be done to save those homes.

"This is our home we put a lot of effort into it. I've put a lot of love in this house."

Lynne and Chris O'Dell's backyard paradise along the Delaware River is gone.

Lynne says, "We used to just pull the chairs out and sit and watch the boat traffic and the big ships that come up and down and watch the wildlife."

Starting about two years ago, they noticed a small divot in their neighbor's back yard.

Then the erosion spread. The O'Dells tried to grow trees and shrubs in the back of their property with the hope that roots would hold the soil in place, but it didn't work.

The hole just grew and grew.

"We reached out for some help, we were basically told that it is our issue, it's Mother Nature."

But something changed this week.

On Monday, drenching rain caused a lot more land to give way and it exposed a pipe that was pouring water down the side of the embankment.

Now with their house just a long jump away from possibly falling down the enormous hole, they think the revelation of the drainage pipe may compel local officials to step in.

Chris says, "Something needs to be done, regardless of what the outcome is in respect to us. In my opinion, it's going to go all the way to the street."

Wednesday afternoon, residents living in the two homes next to the gaping hole were told by officials they need to evacuate.

Chris says, "You know when we walk away we could be walking away and losing everything."

Lynne adds, "My grandkids love it here, all the pictures, it's just a lot. It's overwhelming."

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