The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

March 1, 2013

Sinkhole that swallowed Florida man 'unstable'

(Continued)

SEFFNER, Fla. —

At a news conference Friday night, county administrator Mike Merrill described the home as "seriously unstable." He said no one can go in the home because officials were afraid of another collapse and losing more lives. The soil around the home was very soft and the sinkhole was expected to grow.

Engineers said they may have to demolish the small, sky-blue house, even though from the outside there appeared to be nothing wrong with the four-bedroom, concrete-wall structure, built in 1974.

"I cannot tell you why it has not collapsed yet," said Bill Bracken, the owner of engineering company called on to assess the sinkhole and home.

Engineers said there was an initial collapse followed by another one a short time later. The hole was 15 feet deep but grew to about 25 feet deep, and it was about 20 feet to 30 feet across.

Florida is highly prone to sinkholes because there are caverns below ground of limestone, a porous rock that easily dissolves in water. A sinkhole near Orlando grew to 400 feet across in 1981 and devoured five sports cars, most of two businesses, a three-bedroom house and the deep end of an Olympic-size swimming pool.

Death by sinkhole! Florida man swallowed up by huge hole in his bedroom.

Jeremy Bush said someone came out to the home a couple of months ago to check for sinkholes and other things, apparently for insurance purposes.

"He said there was nothing wrong with the house. Nothing. And a couple of months later, my brother dies. In a sinkhole," Bush said.

Six people were at the home at the time, including Jeremy Bush's wife and his 2-year-old daughter. The brothers worked maintenance jobs, including picking up trash along highways.

___

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