Second Sinkhole Appears 3 Miles From Florida Home

News

With the effort turning from ‘rescue’ to one of recovery, construction crews continue the demolition of Jeff Bush’s Seffner, Florida home. A sinkole about 20 feet wide and 50 to 60 feet deep opened up beneath Bush’s bedroom opened on February 28, 2013, swallowing him alive.

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SEFFNER, FL – As a giant red backhoe gouged into the Florida home where a massive sinkhole swallowed a man, pieces of the family’s lives were pushed into public view.

Walls with picture frames on them came crashing down. Baby toys and clothes on hangers were raked across the ground.

A woman wept as an official handed her a framed portrait. Others lovingly salvaged military awards, a pink teddy bear and an American flag that hung near the house’s front door. The family Bible bore claw marks from the backhoe’s bucket.

Workers demolished the blue, one-story home as carefully as they could Sunday and Monday to try to protect family belongings.

By Monday afternoon, all the walls of the house were gone and “a lot of the debris” had been removed, Hillsborough County spokesman Willie Puz said.

“What we’re going to be doing now is to try to stabilize the hole with gravel,” Puz added.

Officials have said Jeff Bush’s body won’t be recovered. It remains buried somewhere in the sinkhole that stretches 20 feet wide and more than 50 feet deep.

Authorities made the heartbreaking decision to stop the search for Bush, 36, after his odds of survival became abundantly clear.

“We just have not been able to locate Mr. Bush, and so for that reason, the rescue effort is being discontinued,” Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill told reporters Saturday. “At this point, it’s really not possible to recover the body.”

Pictures:

Mile277 Week1_126 7f077433573565a504654bfac64b3c68 Cupid Undie Run-210 Fat Tuesday_036 No Pants Metro Ride_017

A deafening noise

The family’s nightmare began Thursday night, just as everyone was about to go to sleep.

A deafening noise shattered the peace in the house in the Tampa suburb of Seffner.

Jeremy Bush heard his brother scream and ran toward Jeff’s bedroom.

“Everything was gone. My brother’s bed, my brother’s dresser, my brother’s TV. My brother was gone,” he told CNN’s “AC360.”

Jeremy Bush jumped into the hole and frantically shoveled away rubble. But as the house’s floor further collapsed, a sheriff’s deputy pulled him to safety and his brother remained trapped below.

“I couldn’t get him out,” Jeremy Bush said, weeping. “I tried so hard. I tried everything I could.”

Jeremy Bush and four others, including a 2-year-old child, were uninjured.

‘One step at a time’

After the search for Jeff Bush ended, attention turned to razing the house because officials warned it could collapse at any time.

The demolition crew worked for only a few hours Sunday to give the family time to sift through their belongings, Merrill said.

Once officials get a better view of the sinkhole, “they can get a sense of what the next step is,” Merrill, the county administrator, said Sunday.

“This is one step at a time, because we really don’t know what we’re dealing with here,” he said.

A common problem in Florida

Sinkholes are a common problem in the state, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Florida lies on bedrock made of limestone or other carbonate rock that can be eaten away by acidic groundwater, forming voids that collapse when the rock can no longer support the weight of what’s above it.

Hillsborough County, on Florida’s west coast, is part of an area known as “sinkhole alley” that accounts for two-thirds of the sinkhole-related insurance claims in the state, according to a Florida state Senate Insurance and Banking Committee report.

A sinkhole opened up Monday afternoon about three miles from the Bush home. The hole was between two houses, one of them vacant, and caused no structural damage, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue said.

The hole measures 12 feet across and four to five feet deep, said Puz, the county spokesman. He said there is no reason to believe the holes are related.

‘So many memories’

The crater that suddenly caved under the Bush house devastated a family that had lived there for generations.

After officials called off the search for his brother’s body, Jeremy Bush told Bay News 9 the family was despondent.

“It’s not just I lost my brother. There are so many memories in this house,” he told the CNN affiliate. “My wife and her brother and the whole family.

“Every holiday, we gathered at this house. Her grandmother passed away. All the stuff to remember her by is in this house, and we’re losing it all. You can’t replace that. You can’t replace a life being gone.”

By Holly Yan and Catherine E. Shoichet

CNN’s Greg Botelho, Jake Carpenter and Brian Carberry contributed to this report.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.

Popular

Latest News

More News