Family devastated after sinkhole claims a life and its home - WFLA News Channel 8

Family devastated after sinkhole claims a life and its home

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SEFFNER, FL -

Three generations lived there. By Sunday afternoon, the blue ranch home on Faithway Dr. in Seffner was only a memory. A sinkhole, which opened up under the home Thursday night, claimed their loved one and engineers say it needs to come down.

"It may just look like four walls but there's a lot inside them four walls," said Wanda Carter.  Her father owns the home and she grew up there.

A few dozen relatives and friends gathered in front of the home Saturday evening for an impromptu memorial. They took turns leaving flowers at a makeshift memorial set up for Jeffrey Bush, 37. Bush was in bed Thursday night, when the sinkhole suddenly opened up under his bedroom.

"It's not just (that) I lost my brother," said Jeremy Bush. "There's so many memories in this house for my wife, her brother and the whole family. Every holiday, we gathered at this house."

Hillsborough County officials said Saturday the ground around the home is extremely unstable and the sinkhole is still deepening. They suspended the recovery mission for Jeffrey Bush's body and moved on to a demolition phase.

"I knew it and I just didn't want to believe it. I wanted them to get him out," said Jeremy Bush.

A backhoe arrived at the site Saturday evening. Demolition crews began tearing down the home Sunday.  After it's demolished, engineers said they may attempt to fill in the sinkhole.

"There's a potential that you could fill the hole with gravel and sand and stabilize it and you wouldn't have that much collapse and expansion," said geotechnical engineer Ross McGillivray.

The houses adjacent to the sinkhole were also evacuated Saturday after engineers said they were compromised.

"The neighboring houses have soil conditions that are very similar to what we found near the sinkhole. That's the concern," said McGillivray.

The two families were each given about 30-minutes to go inside their homes to grab what they could. They walked out with boxes of belongings and pictures off the walls. Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill said they aren't sure when or if they can return home.

The Red Cross and Brandon Foundation are assisting the families with places to stay. Anyone else who wants to help can make a donation at www.firefighter-relief.com.

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