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Family brings down sinkhole house in search for brother

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Demolition experts watch as the home of Jeff Bush, 37,  is destroyed Sunday, March 3, 2013, after a sinkhole opened up underneath it late Thursday evening swallowing Bush, 37, in Seffner, Fla. The 20-foot-wide opening of the sinkhole was almost covered by the house, and rescuers said there were no signs of life since the hole opened Thursday night. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Demolition experts watch as the home of Jeff Bush, 37, is destroyed Sunday, March 3, 2013, after a sinkhole opened up underneath it late Thursday evening swallowing Bush, 37, in Seffner, Fla. The 20-foot-wide opening of the sinkhole was almost covered by the house, and rescuers said there were no signs of life since the hole opened Thursday night. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

AP

Demolition experts watch as the home of Jeff Bush, 37, is destroyed Sunday, March 3, 2013, after a sinkhole opened up underneath it late Thursday evening swallowing Bush, 37, in Seffner, Fla. The 20-foot-wide opening of the sinkhole was almost covered by the house, and rescuers said there were no signs of life since the hole opened Thursday night. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

MORE than half of the Florida home perched over a huge sinkhole that swallowed a man three days ago has been razed.

Jeremy Bush (35) tried to save his brother, Jeff, when the earth opened up and swallowed him Thursday night. Yesterday morning, Bush and relatives prayed with a pastor as the home – where he lived with his girlfriend, Rachel Wicker; their daughter, Hannah (2) – was demolished.

Early yesterday morning, before the demolition began, Bush knelt and prayed at the mailbox in front of the home, owned by Rachel's grandfather, since the 1970s.

 

collapse

By yesterday afternoon only a few walls of the home remained and a Bible, family photos, a jewellery box and a pink teddy were among the items saved.

Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill said the remaining walls of the home would be knocked down today and then crews would turn to clearing the debris as much as possible to allow officials and engineers to see the sinkhole.

Officials also will determine what will happen to the two homes on either side of the now-demolished house.

Experts say the sinkhole has "compromised" the structural integrity of these homes, but it's unclear whether steps can be taken to save them.

Several generations of family members lived in the home at the time of the ground collapse, including Jeff Bush, the man now presumed dead.

Jeremy Bush tried to save his brother by jumping in the hole.

He had to be pulled out of the still-shifting hole by a Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputy.

"I've never seen anything move so fast and do so much destruction," Deputy Douglas Duvall said.

The search for Jeff Bush (37) was called off on Saturday.

He was in his bedroom on Thursday night in Seffner – a suburb of in Tampa – when the ground opened and took him and everything in his room.

hnews@herald.ie


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