SEFFNER (CBSMiami/AP) – As construction crews continue to demolish a Tampa area home located over a sinkhole which opened up last week and swallowed a man, there has been no definitive word as to whether the hole will be filled or whether the property could be built on again.
Some experts say the fact that the sinkhole claimed a life — that of Jeff Bush, 37 — and that his body is expected to remain below the surface make rebuilding less likely.
“It’s kind of a bad omen,” said Dave Arnold, a hydrogeologist who has surveyed sinkholes for the Southwest Florida Water Management District. “This is an even worse omen with someone buried under there.”
Though the house’s demolition was completed Monday, crews had not yet finished removing its foundation. After that is done, likely Tuesday, they planned to survey the hole to better understand its dimensions. Hillsborough County spokesman Willie Puz said workers would then “stabilize the hole,” though he remained mum on details of what precisely would be done.
“Every sinkhole is different,” he said.
Arnold expects that once the house if destroyed, crews will work to fill in the hole and the lot will likely remain empty.
If the family decides to try to sell the property, they would be required to notify prospective buyers of the sinkhole issue.
Currently, various county agencies are at the sinkhole site to supervise, but officials haven’t given a tally of the costs or said who is absorbing them.
For now, the focus in Seffner remains on a family mourning a loved one and trying to move on. Two large backhoes scraped and pulled at the house Monday afternoon, with one gently removing possessions including a flag, a jacket, family photographs, a bicycle and a china cabinet. The other machine loaded shattered pieces of furniture and construction material into a huge waste container.
Monday’s most solemn moment came at 4 p.m., when demolition stopped and workers joined family members for a brief ceremony. The many flowers and notes that had been left in front of the house were loaded into a tractor’s bucket, which swung slowly toward the sinkhole and dropped the materials into the hole.
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