LAKE WHITNEY — Just watch and wait.
That's all authorities say they can do as a house falls piece by piece into Lake Whitney. The house is in a gated community at White Bluff Resort, surrounded by security guards.
The house dangled off a cliff for hours Tuesday before a piece finally broke off and fell into the water.
The home has become a spectacle in Hill County. Neighbor Ann Jackson said people gathered outside the home Tuesday night as word spread of what was happening.
Neighbors like Connie Ash and Jackie McNamara have been glued to their binoculars since Tuesday, when they first heard — and saw — the land beneath the home give way.
They live across the lake from the home in White Bluff. After hearing an enormous “boom” Tuesday night, they woke up in the morning to see the back porch of the home had collapsed into the lake.
From the water, you can now see straight into the house.
“And that’s why we kept looking and looking and looking to see if anything was going to happen right then,” McNamara said.
"What else is it going to do but fall in?" Ash asked.
That’s the question now: If — or even when — the rest of the home will collapse.
“We might not see another movement for several months, who knows,” said Hill County Chief Deputy Mark Wilson. “Or rains could come in, soften the ground, and it could go away sooner than that.”
While it looks dangerous to see chunks of house falling into the lake, Wilson said there's no threat to public safety right now. He told News 8 that debris isn't falling into a boating lane or near swimmers.
This all started when the Hill County Sheriff's Department noticed a crack in the land under the home about a year ago. The house was condemned, and the owners have since moved out. There is no furniture inside and all utilities have been shut off.
That crack has continued to widen to the point where the entire house could at some point fall into the lake.
"Just sit and wait. There’s nothing we can do. It's nature taking its course and there’s no way to stop what has started," Wilson said.
He added that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is keeping a close eye on another home that is about 70 to 80 yards away from this one. So far it doesn't look like any other homes are in danger.
A relative told News 8 that the homeowners are in Florida right now and won't be back in Texas until the weekend.
This is their second home and they are very concerned about its condition.