URGENT UPDATE ABOUT FLORIDA SINK HOLE: ITS GROWING !!! YAHOO NEWS 3-2-13 11AM EST

Posted on March 1, 2013by 

split-seffner sinkhole 2This just in from our Burbank correspondent:

Well this sucks, imagine you’re sleeping soundly and all of a sudden the ground opens up under your bed and swallows you up and probably kills you. YES! The ground just swallowed him up.

A Florida man fell into a sinkhole that opened suddenly Thursday night beneath the bedroom of his suburban Tampa home, calling out to his brother for help as he fell, the brother said Friday.

“I heard a loud crash, like a car coming through the house,” Jeremy Bush told CNN affiliate WFTS. “I heard my brother screaming and I ran back there and tried going inside his room, but my old lady turned the light on and all I seen was this big hole, a real big hole, and all I saw was his mattress.”

Bush frantically tried to rescue his brother, Jeff Bush, by standing in the hole and digging at the rubble with a shovel until police arrived and pulled him out, saying the floor was still collapsing.

“I thought I heard him holler for me to help him,” the man tearfully told WFTS.

Jeremy Bush and four other people, including a 2-year-old child, escaped from the blue, one-story 1970s-era home in Seffner, Florida, a Tampa suburb.

Jeff Bush was presumed dead after monitoring equipment lowered by engineers detected no signs of life, said Jessica Damico, the Hillsborough County Fire Department spokeswoman.

But rescuers can’t go into the hole to check — it’s too dangerous, Fire Chief Ron Rogers told reporters Friday. Authorities say they worry the hole is still spreading and the house could collapse at any time.

The sinkhole is about 20 feet to 30 feet across and may be 30 feet deep, said Bill Bracken, president of the engineering company assisting emergency workers. The hole was originally reported to be 100 feet across, but that is the diameter of the safety zone surrounding it, Bracken said.

“It started in the bedroom, and it has been expanding outward and it’s taking the house with it as it opens up,” he said.

Nearby homes have been evacuated as a precaution, Rogers said.

Damico said about 40 police and firefighters were standing by at the scene Friday morning. Meanwhile, engineers with more sophisticated equipment hope to get a three-dimensional image of the sinkhole.

Family members were also on hand, waiting out what they fear will be a devastating day.

“I know in my heart he’s dead,” Jeremy Bush said. “But I just want to be here for him, because I love him. He was my brother, man.”

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

sinkhole_brandon pic

Fire Rescue workers in Brandon, Florida are trying to find a man that was swallowed by a sinkhole that opened up under his bedroom last night.

36-year-old Jeff Bush, a roadside maintenance worker for the Florida Department of Transportation, was in his bed when authorities say the ground started to give way. Jessica Damico, a spokeswoman for the Hillsboro County Fire Rescue, said Bush’s brother tried to rescue him, and was almost pulled in himself.

Three other adults and a child were in the home at the time, but they escaped unharmed. His sister says she could hear Bush screaming, trapped under the rubble.

The sinkhole is nearly 100 feet wide, and 50 feet deep. Damico said the it’s still growing, and the house could collapse at any time. She also said that deputies have put in sound and motion monitoring equipment to try to find out if Bush is still alive, but they don’t have any results yet.

An engineering team is on the way to the scene to evaluate and see if they can reach the man.

Deputies have evacuated several homes in the area in case the sinkhole opens up further.

Saturday March 2nd update from the Associated Press:

Engineers worked gingerly on Saturday to find out more about a slowly growing sinkhole that had swallowed a Florida man in his bedroom, believing that the entire house could succumb to the unstable ground.

Police tape kept onlookers safely across the street on Friday.

Jeremy Bush/Jeremy Bush, via Associated Press

Jeff Bush

Jeff Bush, 37, was in his bedroom on Thursday night when the earth opened and took him and everything else in his room. Five other people were in the house but escaped unharmed. Mr. Bush’s brother jumped into the hole to try to help, but he had to be rescued by a sheriff’s deputy.

Engineers returned to the property on Saturday morning to do more tests after taking soil samples and running tests there all day Friday. They said the entire lot was dangerous, and no one was allowed in the house.

“I cannot tell you why it has not collapsed yet,” said Bill Bracken, the owner of an engineering company that was called to assess the sinkhole. He described the earth below as a “very large, very fluid mass.”

“This is not your typical sinkhole,” said Michael Merrill, the Hillsborough County administrator. “This is a chasm. For that reason, we’re being very deliberate.”

The hole had grown to 20 feet deep and 30 feet wide by Friday night, and officials said it was still expanding and “seriously unstable.”

Officials delicately addressed another sad reality: Mr. Bush was most likely dead, and the family wanted his body.

“They would like us to go in quickly and locate Mr. Bush,” Mr. Merrill said.

Two neighboring houses were evacuated, and officials were considering further evacuations. Members of the news media were moved from a lawn across the street to a safer area a few hundred feet away.

“This is a very complex situation,” said the Hillsborough County fire chief, Ron Rogers. “It’s continuing to evolve, and the ground is continuing to collapse.”

Sinkholes are so common in Florida that the state requires home insurers to provide coverage against the danger. While some cars, homes and other buildings have been devoured, it is extremely rare for a sinkhole to swallow a person.

Florida is highly prone to sinkholes because of the underground prevalence of limestone, a porous rock that easily dissolves in water, creating caverns.

“You can almost envision a piece of Swiss cheese,” Taylor Yarkosky, a sinkhole expert from Brooksville, said while gesturing to the ground and to the sky-blue house where the earth opened. “Any house in Florida could be in that same situation.”

A sinkhole near Orlando grew to 400 feet across in 1981 and swallowed five cars, most of two businesses, a three-bedroom house and the deep end of an Olympic-size swimming pool.

More than 500 sinkholes have been reported in Hillsborough County alone since the government started keeping track in 1954, according to the state’s environmental agency.

The sinkhole here caused the home’s concrete floor to cave in around 11 p.m. Thursday as everyone in the house was turning in for the night. It gave way with a loud crash that sounded like a car hitting the house and brought Mr. Bush’s brother, Jeremy, running.

Jeremy Bush said he had jumped into the hole but could not see his brother before the ground crumbled around him. A sheriff’s deputy reached out and pulled him to safety.

“The floor was still giving in and the dirt was still going down, but I didn’t care — I wanted to save my brother,” Jeremy Bush said through tears on Friday in a neighbor’s yard. “But I just couldn’t do nothing.”

SEFFNER, Fla. (AP) — Engineers worked gingerly Saturday morning to find out more about a slowly growing sinkhole that swallowed a Florida man in his bedroom, believing the entire house could eventually succumb to the unstable ground.Jeff Bush, 37, was in his bedroom Thursday night when the earth opened and took him and everything else in his room. Five other people were in the house but managed to escape unharmed. Bush’s brother jumped into the hole to try to help, but he had to be rescued himself by a sheriff’s deputy.Engineers began doing more tests at 7 a.m. Saturday. Crews with equipment were at the home next door, one of two that has been evacuated. By 10 a.m., officials moved media crews farther away from the Bush house so experts could perform tests on the home across the street. It’s unclear how large the sinkhole is, or whether it leads to other caverns and chasms throughout the neighborhood. Experts say the underground of West Central Florida looks similar to Swiss cheese, with the geography lending itself to sinkholes.

Experts spent the previous day on the property, taking soil samples and running various tests — while acknowledging that the entire lot where Bush lay entombed was dangerous. No one was allowed in the home.

“I cannot tell you why it has not collapsed yet,” Bill Bracken, the owner of an engineering company called to assess the sinkhole, said of the home. He described the earth below as a “very large, very fluid mass.”

“This is not your typical sinkhole,” said Hillsborough County administrator Mike Merrill. “This is a chasm. For that reason, we’re being very deliberate.”

Officials delicately addressed another sad reality: Bush was likely dead and the family wanted his body. Merrill, though, said they didn’t want to jeopardize any more lives.

“They would like us to go in quickly and locate Mr. Bush,” Merrill said. Officials added Saturday morning that a fund had been set up to help the families affected by the sinkhole.

On Saturday, Jeremy Bush — who tried to rescue his brother when the earth opened — lay flowers and a stuffed lamb near the house and wept.

Hillsborough County Fire Chief Ron Roger called the situation “very complex.”

“It’s continuing to evolve, and the ground is continuing to collapse,” he said.

Sinkholes are so common in Florida that state law requires home insurers to provide coverage against the danger. While some cars, homes and other buildings have been devoured, it’s extremely rare for them to swallow a person.

Florida is highly prone to sinkholes because there are caverns below ground of limestone, a porous rock that easily dissolves in water.

“You can almost envision a piece of Swiss cheese,” Taylor Yarkosky, a sinkhole expert from Brooksville, Fla., said while gesturing to the ground and the sky blue home where the earth opened in Seffner. “Any house in Florida could be in that same situation.”

A sinkhole near Orlando grew to 400 feet across in 1981 and devoured five sports cars, most of two businesses, a three-bedroom house and the deep end of an Olympic-size swimming pool.

More than 500 sinkholes have been reported in Hillsborough County alone since the government started keeping track in 1954, according to the state’s environmental agency.

The sinkhole, estimated at 20 feet across and 20 feet deep, caused the home’s concrete floor to cave in around 11 p.m. Thursday as everyone in the Tampa-area house was turning in for the night. It gave way with a loud crash that sounded like a car hitting the house and brought Bush’s brother running.

Jeremy Bush said he jumped into the hole but couldn’t see his brother and had to be rescued himself by a sheriff’s deputy who reached out and pulled him to safety as the ground crumbled around him.

“The floor was still giving in and the dirt was still going down, but I didn’t care. I wanted to save my brother,” Jeremy Bush said through tears Friday in a neighbor’s yard. “But I just couldn’t do nothing.”

He added: “I could swear I heard him hollering my name to help him.”

A dresser and the TV set had vanished down the hole, along with most of Bush’s bed.

A sheriff’s deputy who was the first to respond to a frantic 911 call said when he arrived, he saw Jeremy Bush.

Deputy Douglas Duvall said he reached down as if he was “sticking his hand into the floor” to help Jeremy Bush. Duvall said he didn’t see anyone else in the hole.

As he pulled Bush out, “everything was sinking,” Duvall said.

Engineers said they may have to demolish the small house, even though from the outside there appeared to be nothing wrong with the four-bedroom, concrete-wall structure, built in 1974.

Jeremy Bush said someone came out to the home a couple of months ago to check for sinkholes and other things, apparently for insurance purposes.

“He said there was nothing wrong with the house. Nothing. And a couple of months later, my brother dies. In a sinkhole,” Bush said.

http://news.yahoo.com/fla-sinkhole-swall…31378.html


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