The Bob Evans restaurant at I-4 and Tampa Gateway Boulevard was evacuated and closed Sunday morning after employees found the kind of damage often associated with a sinkhole, authorities said.

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue officials said they received a call around 7 a.m. from employees who discovered the damage after their arrival.

Crews were sent to the restaurant, which had not opened for customers and was evacuated of employees before their arrival. They cordoned off the site with yellow tape after discovering cracking on the outside of the building and in the tile floor inside.

The restaurant, located at 11720 Tampa Gateway Blvd., is about four miles from the Seffner neighborhood where a sinkhole opened beneath a home, killing Jeffrey Bush, in February. That home at 240 Faithway Drive and two adjacent homes were later demolished.

"We know that we've had substantial rain within the area. It could be possible washout where the ground is just unstable. Until the testing is complete we're not able to say what is causing the structural compromise," said Nacole Revette, with Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

Employees of nearby businesses, are crossing their fingers it's not the thing that worries them the most.

"I hope that it's not a sinkhole. I hope that you know, they can get everything fixed so that nothing's damaged and nobody gets hurt," said Brandie White, who works nearby.

White said she heard water draining from the retention pond next to the restaurant Saturday night and saw sand moving.

It's not clear if that's related, but the whole situation is enough to make her nervous.

"It's just scary all those people could lose their jobs and they could have to shut down and the business could just go totally under," White said.

There was no word on when the restaurant might reopen.

Authorities said there was no visible hole inside the building.

A road wraps around the Bob Evans and there's also a hotel nearby. Fire officials say they're working to make sure the area is safe.