A Florida sinkhole opened beneath a suburban Tampa home on Thursday night, swallowing a 37-year-old man and leaving a dangerous situation behind. Today, that house will be demolished before it collapses any further, according to an indepth report for CNN by John Zarrella and Holly Yan.
As Patrick Frye reported yesterday, Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill had to abandon the search for Jeff Bush, the victim. The sinkhole is just too deep, and it continues to grow. Five members of the Bush family escaped, but they were given only half an hour on Friday to retrieve what belongings they could.
The CNN report said, “Authorities warned that the massive hole under Bush’s bedroom — about 20 feet wide and 50 to 60 feet deep — was still expanding, and the suburban Tampa house could collapse at any time.” Two nearby houses have also been evacuated, and the removal of the collapsing Bush home could take several days.
An Associated Press (AP) report for The New York Times said that family members have gathered to watch the demolition crew. Some equipment, including “a vehicle with a bucket scoop on a long arm,” is already in place.
AP talked with a spokesperson for Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, Jessica Damico, who explained that the equipment will be set up on what is believed to be stable ground. Workers will then reach forward with the scoop to try to pull away the house from the growing sinkhole. Because the tragedy occurred with no warning, and the hazard spread so rapidly, the family didn’t really have time to save much. By taking the house apart in this manner, it may be possible to rescue some more of the family’s belongings.
However, it isn’t possible now to rescue Jeff Bush or even to locate his body.
CNN is providing live coverage of the Florida sinkhole home being demolished.