Jeff Bush, 37, is presumed dead and his body will likely never be found. Demolition crews finished ripping down his home Monday, and then filled up the sinkhole with gravel and dirt.
BY ERIK ORTIZ
An aerial image of a sinkhole at 240 Faithway Drive in Seffner, Fla., that opened up and killed a man last Thursday.
The sinkhole that became a Florida man’s open grave was revealed Monday after demolition crews ripped down the walls of the home that hid the gaping chasm.
Officials have given up on the possibility that they might find Seffner homeowner Jeff Bush after Thursday night’s freak occurrence, when a 20-foot-wide abyss swallowed the 37-year-old as he slept in his bedroom.
The massive pit — exactly the size of the bedroom — was filled in with gravel and dirt to help stabilize the ground. That means Bush’s body will likely never be found.
Also on Monday, residents of Seffner became further rattled with news that a second sinkhole was found almost two miles from Bush’s home.
An aerial image of the sinkhole that opened up in the bedroom of a Seffner, Fla., home last Thursday, presumably swallowing the homeowner.
Fortunately, the 12-foot-wide chasm opened up directly between two homes on Cedar Tree Lane, Fox affiliate WTVT-TV reported. No one was hurt.
“This is a shock, a real shock,” local resident Christian Diaz told the station. “I’m surprised that this happened, especially so close over here.”
But the two sites are not geologically connected, said Willie Puz, a spokesman for Hillsborough County.
One of the homeowners whose property contains the second sinkhole will be responsible for cleaning up the mess.
Jeff Bush, 37, was remembered by his friends and families over the weekend. His body will likely never be found.
Various county agencies have been at the first sinkhole site to supervise the cleanup, but officials haven’t given a tally of the costs or said who is absorbing them.
Often, homeowners find clues to a pending problem by cracks in the foundation or a shifting floor.
When that happens, and a sinkhole threat has been established, crews can pump a thick grout — a mixture of sand and cement — into the ground to fill the holes.
It is a costly process, though it is typically paid by insurance companies, and can save a home from being destroyed.
A second sinkhole has opened up only a couple of miles away from the one that killed Jeff Bush in Seffner, Fla.
“You inject the grout under pressure and attempt to fill all the cavities you can find,” said Anthony Randazzo, a former University of Florida geology professor who started the consulting firm Geohazards, which handles about 1,000 cases a year of sinkholes and other settlement issues.
Geotechnical engineer Larry Madrid said many sinkhole cases can be spotted over time as a depression forms, which means unexpected danger can be averted.
“From a risk standpoint, you’re far more likely to get hit by lightning, and that’s … a remote thing,” Madrid told WTVT-TV.
For now, the focus in Seffner remains on a family mourning a loved one and trying to move on.
Demolition crews remove items from the home of Jeff Bush on Monday in Seffner, Fla.
Two large backhoes scraped and pulled at the house Monday afternoon, with one gently removing possessions including a flag, a jacket, family photographs, a bicycle and a china cabinet. The other machine loaded shattered pieces of furniture and construction material into a huge waste container.
The day’s most solemn moment came at 4 p.m., when demolition stopped and workers joined family members for a brief ceremony. The many flowers and notes that had been left in front of the house were loaded into a tractor’s bucket, which swung slowly toward the sinkhole and dropped the materials into the hole.
There was applause from across the street.
Though the house’s demolition was completed Monday, crews had not yet finished removing its foundation. After that is done, they planned to survey the hole to better understand its dimensions.
With News Wire Services