A 74-year-old woman described her lucky escape after she almost fell in a 30ft deep sinkhole that appeared in her back garden.
13 properties have been evacuated in Magdalen's Road, Ripon.
No-one was injured when the 15m by 15m hole opened up just at around 10.30pm behind the attractive row of terraced homes, but it could have brought the properties down had it been closer.
Frances O'Neill said she was woken by a "tremendous noise" and almost fell in when she went out on to her back patio to investigate.
She said: "I was just going down the steps into my garden and I put a foot down and then I realised the steps were moving, or had gone.
Fire officers directed residents to the pub over the road where Mrs O'Neill said she had a stiff drink.
The Fountains Abbey worker described herself as a "fairly stoic kind of person".