A life and memories swallowed by sinkhole are all that remain - WFLA News Channel 8

A life and memories swallowed by sinkhole are all that remain in Seffner

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SEFFNER, FL -

Demolition crews finished demolishing the house in Seffner Monday that was affected by the sinkhole last week. They started filling in the edges of the sinkhole with gravel late Monday afternoon, trying to stabilize the ground.

Willie Puz with Hillsborough County Communications said on Monday morning they will work as long as it takes to keep everybody safe and not to lose any more lives.

"The goal is to get the house removed, and the slab removed, so we can see the sinkhole," Puz said.

Demolition crews worked slowly to allow the family retrieve some of their belongings. Firefighters received a round of applause from the family and the by-standers Sunday when they cautiously took the American flag down from the roof. Wanda Carter, who grew up in the house, said she was honored to take her father's flag and the family's Bible. She said they needed it for closure.

Puz said they also retrieved two antique riffles circa 1800s that the family asked them to find.

Monday afternoon, two contractors were able to carefully lift the family's china cabinet to safety.

"That was my mother's and there were some irreplaceable dishes in there," said Carter.

The sinkhole opened up late Thursday swallowing a bedroom in the house with everything in it and burying Jeff Bush.

Demolition crews started to break down the house on Sunday when it was determined that the site was entirely unstable and the recovery mission for Jeff Bush's body was canceled.

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

Jeremy Bush tried to save Jeff Thursday evening when Jeff's bed started sinking down. Jeremy had to be pulled out of the sinkhole himself.

Jeremy Bush said Monday morning he is frustrated by the efforts made to retrieve his brother's body. He wishes more had been done.

"I feel that they could have tried harder to get my brother out of there," said Jeremy Bush. "I want to let him know that I loved him. I tried my hardest to get you out, bro. I think I'm the only one who really tried to get you out."

Engineering crews tested the ground at the sinkhole site over the weekend. Heavy demolition equipment arrived to the sinkhole sight Saturday evening. The neighbor houses were evacuated as well. Hillsborough County said it could be several weeks before it's known whether those homes can be saved.

Authorities ordered all helicopters to back off. They said they will take any safety precautions.

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 or call the Brandon Foundation at 813 689-6889. You can also mail a check to:

Brandon Foundation, Attn: Sinkhole Family Relief

PO Box 3197 Brandon, Fl 33509

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