New video shows deadly Seffner sinkhole - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

New video shows deadly Seffner sinkhole

Posted: Updated:
Aerial images of the house at 240 Faithway Dr. in February Aerial images of the house at 240 Faithway Dr. in February
Recent aerials of the site Recent aerials of the site
SEFFNER, FL -

Hillsborough County officials ordered houses next to the deadly sinkhole site in Seffner condemned and unfit to live.  The sinkhole opened up at 240 Faithway Dr. in Seffner in February and swallowed Jeff Bush and his bedroom, burying him alive. Rescue teams couldn't retrieve Bush's body. Demolition crews leveled the house and filled the sinkhole. 

County administrator Michael Merrill said in a memo that engineering consultants performed geophysical testing at the two properties adjacent to the house. They found additional sinkhole activity and unstable soils at the sites.

Chuck Halloway lives next door to one of the homes that will be condemned. His house is just feet away. He worries his own home may not be safe.

"We're all worried about this place around here," he said. "They tear this house down, what am I going to do? I don't know.

Halloway has been spending a lot of time looking over his fence into his neighbor's backyard. He swears the orange tree next door is lower than it used to be, and there's a gap under the concrete slab outside the backdoor.

"It looks like from here, where I can see in my backyard, like it just sunk," Halloway said.

Officials stated that repair expenses to the properties will be higher than the houses' values. Based on the Florida laws they deemed the houses condemned and unfit for living.

The county officials said in the memo, if the owners wanted to go back into the houses the engineers recommended additional tests to make sure the ground wasn't moving at the sites.

At the same time the county made the determination the homes at 238 and 242 Faithway Dr. need to be condemned, it also released video of the inside of the sinkhole. The video shows a view from inside the bedroom where Jeff Bush slept. The walls and floor are still visible, but the floor disappears into a large dark hole.

Even though she heard the ground fall out from the man who was sleeping in the next room; although she saw the pit for herself that night - it's still hard for Janell Wheeler to watch newly released video of the now infamous Seffner sinkhole.

"I've been a basket case the whole day ever since I've seen it," Wheeler said. "It's just like you ripped off that Band-Aid."

Hillsborough County released the video Tuesday which shows how deep the sinkhole was that swallowed Jeff Bush as he slept on Feb. 28. Rescuers used the camera to see inside the home on Faithway Drive in Seffner. What started as a hole 5 to 10 feet deep turned into a pit likely 60 feet below the floor.

"It wasn't that big when we saw it," Wheeler remembers about that night.

She ran to the bedroom as Jeff's brother jumped into the hole to save him. He couldn't. A Hillsborough Co. deputy pulled him to safety but rescuers determined it was too risky to recover Jeff's body.

"My bedroom is the bedroom that was next door," Wheeler said. "When it initially fell - it took my closet and about a foot and a half to two feet into my bedroom ... the floor ... when it collapsed."

Since the sinkhole opened up, Janell's insurance has put the family up in a rental. They have two months to find something else.

"Obviously - no one's ever going to build here again," she said as she stood in front of the empty lot now surrounded by fencing and memorials.

The nights are tough. She can barely sleep. And she says she comes every day to sit in her car, reflect and remember the memories and life lost here. But the notes on the fence also tell her many people are doing the same.

"I just could not imagine this little town of Seffner - our little family - that everybody has just come together," she said.

 

  • NewsMore>>

  • Shooting reported in Manatee

    Shooting reported in Manatee

    Monday, July 28 2014 4:11 AM EDT2014-07-28 08:11:00 GMT
    A shooting was reported at the intersection of the US Highway 301 and University Parkway early Monday morning.
    A shooting was reported at the intersection of the US Highway 301 and University Parkway early Monday morning.
  • Free hepatitis testing in Pinellas this week

    Free hepatitis testing in Pinellas this week

    Monday, July 28 2014 3:57 AM EDT2014-07-28 07:57:16 GMT
    Department of Health Pinellas and Pinellas Planning Partnership will offer free hepatitis test and other screenings Monday and Friday.
    Department of Health Pinellas and Pinellas Planning Partnership will offer free hepatitis test and other screenings Monday and Friday.
  • A hot day, even for July

    A hot day, even for July

    Monday, July 28 2014 3:49 AM EDT2014-07-28 07:49:04 GMT
    Below average rain chances today. Even hotter than normal with highs in the low to mid 90s.
    Below average rain chances today. Even hotter than normal with highs in the low to mid 90s.
  • Accident causing lane closures on Interstate 81-North

    UPDATE: Interstate 81 lane reopens after Botetourt Crash

    UPDATE: Interstate 81 lane reopens after Botetourt Crash

    Friday, July 25 2014 8:49 AM EDT2014-07-25 12:49:42 GMT
    Two lanes are still closed but traffic is now passing on the right shoulder.
    Two lanes are still closed but traffic is now passing on the right shoulder.
  • UPDATE: Crash on Interstate 81 in Montgomery Co.

    UPDATE: Crash on Interstate 81 in Montgomery Co.

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:09 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:09:04 GMT
    All lanes on I-81 southbound are closed due to a tractor trailer crash near mile marker 120
    All lanes on I-81 southbound are closed due to a tractor trailer crash near mile marker 120
  • Floydfest attracts people from all walks of life

    Floydfest attracts people from all walks of life

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:26 PM EDT2014-07-24 03:26:58 GMT
    FloydFest 13 kicked off on Wednesday. Thousands of people from different walks of life will attend various events. Some come to the music festival to escape the monotony of everyday living."
    FloydFest 13 kicked off on Wednesday. Thousands of people from different walks of life will attend various events. Some come to the music festival to escape the monotony of everyday living."

Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.