Demolition Resumes At Florida Home Where Sinkhole Devoured Man - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Demolition Resumes At Florida Home Where Sinkhole Devoured Man

Posted: Updated:

(CNN) -- As a giant red backhoe plunged into the Florida home where a massive sinkhole swallowed a man whole, pieces of the family's lives were pushed into public view.

Walls with picture frames on them came crashing down. Baby toys and clothes on hangers were raked across the ground.

A woman wept as an official handed her a framed portrait. Others lovingly salvaged military awards, a pink teddy bear and an American flag that hung near the house's front door. The family Bible bore claw marks from the backhoe's bucket.

Workers started demolishing the blue, one-story home as carefully as they could Sunday to try to salvage belongings for the family of the victim, Jeff Bush.

The process continued Monday, as crews began a second day of clearing debris so engineers can get a better look at the sinkhole and figure out the best way to fill it.

But officials have said Bush's body won't be recovered. It remains buried somewhere in the massive sinkhole that stretches 20 feet wide and more than 50 feet deep.

Authorities made the heartbreaking decision to stop the search for Bush, 36, after his odds of survival became abundantly clear.

"We just have not been able to locate Mr. Bush, and so for that reason, the rescue effort is being discontinued," Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill told reporters Saturday. "At this point, it's really not possible to recover the body."

A deafening noise

The family's nightmare began Thursday night, just as everyone was about to go to sleep.

A deafening noise shattered the peace in the house in the Tampa suburb of Seffner.

Jeremy Bush heard his brother scream and ran toward Jeff's bedroom.

"Everything was gone. My brother's bed, my brother's dresser, my brother's TV. My brother was gone," he told CNN's "AC360."

Jeremy Bush jumped into the hole and frantically shoveled away rubble. But as the house's floor further collapsed, a sheriff's deputy pulled him to safety and his brother remained trapped below.

"I couldn't get him out," Jeremy Bush said, weeping. "I tried so hard. I tried everything I could."

Jeremy Bush and four others, including a 2-year-old child, were uninjured.

'One step at a time'

after the search for Jeff Bush ended, attention turned to razing the house, which officials warned could collapse at any time.

The demolition crew worked for only a few hours Sunday to give the family time to sift through their belongings, Merrill said.

Once officials get a better view of the sinkhole, "they can get a sense of what the next step is," Merrill, the county administrator, said Sunday.

"This is one step at a time, because we really don't know what we're dealing with here," he said.

A common problem in Florida

Sinkholes are a common problem in the state, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Florida lies on bedrock made of limestone or other carbonate rock that can be eaten away by acidic groundwater, forming voids that collapse when the rock can no longer support the weight of what's above it.

Hillsborough County, on Florida's west coast, is part of an area known as "sinkhole alley" that accounts for two-thirds of the sinkhole-related insurance claims in the state, according to a Florida state Senate Insurance and Banking Committee report.

'So many memories'

The crater that suddenly caved under the Bush house devastated a family that had lived there for generations.

After officials called off the search for his brother's body, Jeremy Bush told Bay News 9 the family was despondent.

"It's not just I lost my brother. There are so many memories in this house," he told the CNN affiliate. "My wife and her brother and the whole family.

"Every holiday, we gathered at this house. Her grandmother passed away. All the stuff to remember her by is in this house, and we're losing it all. You can't replace that. You can't replace a life being gone."

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • BACK TO SCHOOL: See where your school ranks in performance

    BACK TO SCHOOL: See where your school ranks in performance

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 10:53 PM EDT2014-08-28 02:53:53 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Two schools in the Spokane area received top rankings based on a new assessment, according to the Washington Policy Center. Using assessments based on a study by the Washington State Board of Education, the Washington Policy Center ranked schools on an "A to F-" scale, with 14 percent of schools in in and around Spokane finishing with A's or B's.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Two schools in the Spokane area received top rankings based on a new assessment, according to the Washington Policy Center. Using assessments based on a study by the Washington State Board of Education, the Washington Policy Center ranked schools on an "A to F-" scale, with 14 percent of schools in in and around Spokane finishing with A's or B's.>>
  • Throwback Thursday! Look At 'Sunshine Shelly' Through The Years!

    Throwback Thursday! Look At 'Sunshine Shelly' Through The Years!

    Thursday, March 20 2014 1:04 PM EDT2014-03-20 17:04:11 GMT
    KHQ.COM - It's throwback Thursday! Here is a slideshow we would like to share of Shelly Monahan through the years! For those of you who have been in Spokane for many years, and saw her through her "Sunshine Shelly" days, you will probably remember the Shelly from back in those days. Enjoy!>>
    KHQ.COM - It's throwback Thursday! Here is a slideshow we would like to share of Shelly Monahan through the years! For those of you who have been in Spokane for many years, and saw her through her "Sunshine Shelly" days, you will probably remember the Shelly from back in those days. Enjoy!>>
  • PHOTOS: National Dog Day!

    PHOTOS: National Dog Day!

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 2:02 PM EDT2014-08-27 18:02:10 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Tuesday, August 26th is when we celebrate man's best friend! It's National Dog Day! National Dog Day was created back in 2004, and it gives us a chance to stop and appreciate those who offer us their unconditional love, support, and acceptance: our pups! INSIDE>>>|Submit photos of YOUR dog!|>>
    KHQ.COM - Tuesday, August 26th is when we celebrate man's best friend! It's National Dog Day! National Dog Day was created back in 2004, and it gives us a chance to stop and appreciate those who offer us their unconditional love, support, and acceptance: our pups! INSIDE>>>|Submit photos of YOUR dog!|>>
  • National NewsMore>>

  • VA: No proof delays in veteran care caused hospital deaths

    VA: No proof delays in veteran care caused hospital deaths

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 9:11 PM EDT2014-08-27 01:11:37 GMT
    KHQ.COM- The Department of Veterans Affairs says there's no proof that delays in care caused any deaths at the VA hospital in Phoenix, Ariz.Revelations that as many as 40 veterans died while awaiting care rocked the agency this past spring, bringing to light scheduling problems and allegations of misconduct at other hospitals as well.NBC News obtained a draft report from the VA's Office of Inspector General Tuesday. The draft report says while investigators found substantial delays in care an...>>
    KHQ.COM- The Department of Veterans Affairs says there's no proof that delays in care caused any deaths at the VA hospital in Phoenix, Ariz.Revelations that as many as 40 veterans died while awaiting care rocked the agency this past spring, bringing to light scheduling problems and allegations of misconduct at other hospitals as well.NBC News obtained a draft report from the VA's Office of Inspector General Tuesday. The draft report says while investigators found substantial delays in care an...>>
  • UPDATE: Sergeant who shot herself at Fort Lee dies

    UPDATE: Sergeant who shot herself at Fort Lee dies

    Monday, August 25 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-08-25 22:58:27 GMT
    Police officer patrols the entrance of Fort Lee in VirginiaPolice officer patrols the entrance of Fort Lee in Virginia
    FORT LEE, Va. (AP) - A commanding general at a Virginia Army base says an enraged soldier with a gun barricaded herself in an office, then shot herself in the head as officials tried to negotiate with her.>>
    FORT LEE, Va. (AP) - A commanding general at a Virginia Army base says an enraged soldier with a gun barricaded herself in an office, then shot herself in the head as officials tried to negotiate with her. Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Lyons says the soldier went on a rampage, throwing objects. >>
  • Ice bucket challenge goes awry, firefighters hurt

    Ice bucket challenge goes awry, firefighters hurt

    Friday, August 22 2014 4:50 PM EDT2014-08-22 20:50:01 GMT
    CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. - A charity stunt that has grown into a social media phenomenon went terribly wrong for four Kentucky firefighters who were injured when a fire truck's ladder got too close to a power line after they dumped water on college students who were taking part in an "ice bucket challenge.">>
    CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. - A charity stunt that has grown into a social media phenomenon went terribly wrong for four Kentucky firefighters who were injured when a fire truck's ladder got too close to a power line after they dumped water on college students who were taking part in an "ice bucket challenge.">>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • Dog shot and killed by deputy in Spokane Valley

    Dog shot and killed by deputy in Spokane Valley

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 11:02 PM EDT2014-08-28 03:02:40 GMT
    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - A Spokane County deputy shot and killed a dog Wednesday afternoon in Spokane Valley after he said the dog attacked him.>>
    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - A Spokane County deputy shot and killed a dog Wednesday afternoon in Spokane Valley after he said the dog attacked him. The Sheriff's Office told KHQ the deputy was trying to return property to the home near Sprague and Henry. INSIDE>>>|RAW INTERVIEW from the dog's owner|>>
  • BACK TO SCHOOL: See where your school ranks in performance

    BACK TO SCHOOL: See where your school ranks in performance

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 10:53 PM EDT2014-08-28 02:53:53 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Two schools in the Spokane area received top rankings based on a new assessment, according to the Washington Policy Center. Using assessments based on a study by the Washington State Board of Education, the Washington Policy Center ranked schools on an "A to F-" scale, with 14 percent of schools in in and around Spokane finishing with A's or B's.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Two schools in the Spokane area received top rankings based on a new assessment, according to the Washington Policy Center. Using assessments based on a study by the Washington State Board of Education, the Washington Policy Center ranked schools on an "A to F-" scale, with 14 percent of schools in in and around Spokane finishing with A's or B's.>>
  • Priest Lake Auction: Saying goodbye to home

    Priest Lake Auction: Saying goodbye to home

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 10:50 PM EDT2014-08-28 02:50:23 GMT
    PRIEST LAKE, Idaho - After years of obstacles for 61 Priest Lake lot lessees, the end comes on Thursday, August 28th. >>
    PRIEST LAKE, Idaho - After years of obstacles for 61 Priest Lake lot lessees, the end comes on Thursday, August 28th. People who have been leasing land from the state, some more than 40 years, will find out if they get to keep their property in an auction.Back in 2010, the State of Idaho decided to divest more than 300 lake lots on Priest Lake.
    >>