SHOTLIST:

POOL - AP CLIENTS ONLY

Seffner, Florida - March 4, 2013

1. SOUNDBITE: Jeremy Bush / Tried to save brother in sinkhole

"You see all this heavy equipment? You see all that? The house is still standing. The only reason the house fell is they put the machines on it. I feel they could have tried harder to try to get my brother out of there. That was my brother. My mom and dad are going through so much right now, nobody's even talking about my mom and dad what they're going through. My mom and dad don't want to be on camera or nothing. But my mom and dad are going through hell right now. My mom waking up every hour on the hour crying in bed. She's going through hell. No one ever wants to bury their kid before they go. And my mom, and I love my mom and dad with all my heart. And I just want my mom and dad to know I love you and I tried to save your son. I tried my hardest. And this is the Wicker house. This is the Wicker property. I just married into the family. My brother is in the hole, yes, that's where he's going to rest if they can't get him out but this is the Wicker house. Not the Bush family house. Not that. My mom and dad are grieving really hard and there's nobody really saying nothing about my mom and dad at all. I want the media to know, everybody to know, that my mom and dad are going through hell, too. They lost a son. We never thought we'd have to go through something like this."

STORYLINE:

Authorities hope to get a better look at a sinkhole that swallowed a man in his Florida home once demolition crews knock down the remaining walls of the house Monday and begin clearing away the debris.

The remainder of the house and its contents will be dragged toward the street so crews can recover items inside and keep debris from falling into the hole, Hillsborough County spokesman Willie Puz said Monday morning. Authorities were still not certain exactly how big the sinkhole is.

Crews on Sunday razed more than half the home, managing to salvage some keepsakes for family members who lived there.

The opening of the sinkhole has been covered by the home, but once emergency officials and engineers can see inside it more clearly, they could begin planning how to deal with it. They also need to decide what will happen to the two homes on either side of the now-demolished house. Experts say the sinkhole has "compromised" those homes, but it's unclear whether steps can be taken to save them.

Jeremy Bush, 35, tried to save his brother, Jeff, when the earth opened up and swallowed him Thursday night.

On Sunday morning, Bush and relatives prayed with a pastor as the home - where he lived with his girlfriend, Rachel Wicker; their daughter, Hannah, 2; and others - was demolished and waited for firefighters to salvage anything possible from inside. The home was owned by Leland Wicker, Rachel's grandfather, since the 1970s.

The operator of the heavy equipment worked gingerly, first taking off a front wall. Family belongings were scooped onto the lawn gently in hopes of salvaging parts of the family's 40-year history in the home.

As of Sunday afternoon - when demolition had stopped for the day and only a few walls remained - a Bible, family photos, a jewelry box and a pink teddy bear for Hannah were among the items saved. Firefighters also were able to pick out the purse of one of the women in the home.

 

Advertisement