Engineers examine Bob Evans in Seffner for possible sinkhole - WFLA News Channel 8

Engineers examine Bob Evans in Seffner for possible sinkhole

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SEFFNER, FL -

Could a sinkhole be forming beneath a Bob Evans in Seffner?

That's been the big question ever since massive cracks formed along the walls, forcing the restaurant to evacuate.

A team of engineers from Terracon have been out there all day and so far it's been inconclusive.

They can't say at this time if it's a sinkhole, but they can't rule it out.

When employees entered the Bob Evans first thing Sunday morning, what they found was alarming- huge cracks formed throughout the building and the floor was sloping.

The employees were evacuated amid speculation of a possible sinkhole.

 The Bob Evans is about four miles away from the former home of Jeff Bush. A sinkhole swallowed him alive in his bedroom in February.

On Monday, engineers used ground penetrating radar and drills to figure out what caused the damage.

Hillsborough County Code Enforcement Director Dexter Barge said, "No one has indicated to me that there's a sinkhole."

Barge says engineers will remain on site to figure out the problem.

But he said the problem is getting worse. Barge says the cracks have gotten bigger, and new cracks have started forming.

"There are number of things that can cause a building to shift, not necessarily a sinkhole," said Barge. "It could be anything. It could be a washout underneath, it could be some other type of structural failure, not really sure."

Barge says this is being considered an isolated incident, and there is no danger to the surrounding businesses.

After the testing is complete, it will be up to Bob Evans to figure out what to do with the property.

 In a statement, Bob Evans COO Harvey Brownlee said "Our Seffner, Florida, restaurant remains closed today after county engineers identified structural over the weekend. We are working with local authorities, independent geotechnical engineers and our Bob Evans facilities team to identify the cause of the damage. Our restaurant employees have been temporarily transferred to nearby restaurants in the Tampa area. We have no plans to re-open the restaurant until such time as we can ensure the absolute safety of our employees and guests."

Stay with wfla.com for more on the story.

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