Seffner, FL -- Two more homes have fallen victim to the sinkhole that killed a Seffner man this past February 28th.
Within hours of demolishing the home where Jeff Bush died, those home were condemned. On Wednesday they were torn down as well.
There was already a void on Faithway Drive and now it's that much bigger. And with no confidence the sinkhole that killedBush is stabilized yet, there's concern that voidmay still begrowing.
"You're thankful for the 21 years that we did have there," saidLisa Jaudon, who'ddebated whether to watch the razing of the home where her children were raised.
It was hard.
Along with the sounds of demolition, memories echoed in her head.
"The times of laughter. The children running through the house asking for more cookies. Neighbors knocking on the door wanting to come play," said Jaudon.
Two weeks ago, Jaudon, who now lives in Valrico, was given a final chance to grab clothes and keepsakes, such as her daughter's prom dress and family pictures.
The home she'd lived in more thantwo decades was condemned by the same sinkhole that took Jeff Bush's life February 28th.
"My husband passed away six and a half years ago and so we were able to get out his poetry, his artwork. Things that were very special to us," she said.
"It's still kind of sad. All three of those houses I grew up in," said Jordan Wheeler.
Wheelerwas raised in the other home next door to where Bush died.He watched in disbelief as demolition crews leveled it.
"Memories. That's all we can talk about today is memories. That's all we've been talking about," he said.
For nearly three months, neighbors had stared and an empty lot, surrounded by two condemned homes on Faithway Drive.
The center property, Jeff Bush's grave, was still sinking, they say, when they recently watched a county worker conduct tests.
"He got five feet from the back of the hole, put a pole down, 10 feet. It went straight down, no effort. Pulled it back up," said Christopher Holloway, who watched them conduct the test.
Hillsborough County officials still don't know what will happen to the land.
The ground was - and is currently - too unstable for homes, they say.
Spokesman Willie Puz likened it to digging near the shore-line at the beach. Water seeps in as you dig deeper, and the walls, collapsing in.
"I mean, the family has said that they had wanted a memorial on the property so they could come visit. But beyond that, that's discussion for a later time," said Puz.
"It's just very surreal, you know you just still find it hard to believe that this is actually happening," said Jaudon.
For months, relatives have been asking why county officials made the decision they didto abandon the effort to rescue Jeff Bush.
Coincidentally on the day they leveled the two surrounding houses, they released more details about what went into that difficult decision.
A three-page memo given to county commissioners details the decision process as county engineers and rescue officials tried to get a handle on the chaotic scene.
After initial attempts to save Jeff Bush, the report says engineers lowered a sensitive listening device into the sinkhole, but heard no breathing or motion, and that ultimately the listening equipment itself was consumed by a second collapse.
"They have a company in Orlando that could have retrieved the body, why didn't they bring them in?" asked Michael Nivens, a family friend.
To this day, friends and relatives believe more could have been done to save Jeff or at least recover his remains.
But the memo says the listening device consumed by the second cave-in settled at about 30 feet below the surface.
After a third collapse, they decided the scene was too unsafe without taking soil samples.
"The data showed it was these three homes that were impacted by that initial sinkhole," said Puz.
That data was gathered, according to the memo, using three different techniques -Ground Penetrating radar, Electrical Resistivity - which shows soil layering and possible voids, and a cone with rods sent underground until it hit limestone at about 57 feet.
They found two layers of clay. One hard layer at about 12 feet. Another soft at around 25.
The hole under Jeff Bush's room, they estimated, was 15 feet wide, 20 feet deep.
The disturbed area - another 50 feet in radius with vertical walls - meant another collapse that wide could happen at any time.
It concludes: "Based on the interpretation of this data it was determined that, unfortunately, a rescue or recovery mission could no longer be justified."
The memo says that final decision was made with "a heavy heart."
For now, a fence will be erected around all three properties until they can determine its long-term stability.
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