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Florida sinkhole: Neighboring home ‘compromised’

Jeremy Bush kneels by a makeshift memorial for his brother Jeff, who was swallowed by a sinkhole that opened under his bedroom Thursday night in the Tampa area.
(Chris O'Meara / Associated Press)

The sinkhole that opened underneath a Florida house, pulling into it a man who officials fear is dead, has compromised the house next door, officials said Saturday.

Officials planned to let family members, accompanied by firefighters, into the threatened home for about 20 minutes to gather some belongings, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokesman Ronnie Rivera told reporters Saturday.

Authorities believe that Jeff Bush, 37, was killed after the sinkhole opened beneath his family’s Tampa-area home Thursday night.

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Family members who were inside the home when it happened said they heard a crash, then a scream. The sinkhole had swallowed Bush -- and much of his bedroom.

Officials say the sinkhole, which had continued to grow since Thursday, could consume the entire home.

Bush’s body hadn’t been retrieved by Saturday morning and the ground near the home was still “very, very unsafe,” Rivera said at a televised press conference Saturday.

“At this time we did some testing and we determined that the house right next to the house that’s actually damaged is also compromised by the sinkhole,” Rivera said.

Rivera concluded his brief update by mentioning a website where people could donate to those affected by the sinkhole.

“A sinkhole opened under the home of Jeff Bush, taking his life,” reads a note posted on the site. “The home has been condemned and the family is unable to retrieve any of their personal property. They have virtually lost everything.”

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marisa.gerber@latimes.com


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