SEFFNER, Fla. — Crews on Sunday razed more than half of the home perched over a huge hole that swallowed a man three days ago, managing to salvage some keepsakes for family members.
Jeremy Bush, 35, tried to save his brother, Jeff, when the earth opened up Thursday night. On Sunday morning, Bush and relatives prayed with a pastor as the Tampa-area home — where he lived with his girlfriend, Rachel Wicker; their daughter, Hannah, 2; and others — was demolished.
The demolition crew worked gingerly, first taking down a front wall. Family belongings were scooped onto the lawn in hopes of salvaging parts of the family’s 40-year history in the home.
As of Sunday afternoon — when only a few walls of the home remained — a Bible, family photos, a jewelry box and a pink teddy bear for Hannah were among the items saved.
Cheers went up from family, friends, and neighbors each time something valuable was salvaged.
Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill said the remaining walls would be knocked down Monday and then crews would turn to clearing the debris to allow engineers a better look at the hole.
Several generations of family members lived in the home at the time of the ground collapse, including Jeff Bush, the man now presumed dead.
The search for Bush, 37, was called off Saturday. He was in his bedroom Thursday night when the ground opened. Five others in the house at the time escaped unharmed.