Sunday, February 25, 2018
Public safety

Work at Seffner sinkhole home continues

SEFFNER — After a massive sinkhole buried their next door neighbor Thursday night, Jeff Allen and his family left their home.

It was the home that Allen and his wife slowly renovated for the past three years. They had the house painted, installed a new air conditioner and renovated the master bedroom.

Now, a chain-link fence surrounds the house. A sign reads, "No Trespassing."

After the sinkhole formed at 240 Faithway Drive, officials deemed the Allens' house unsafe. They have not yet determined whether the family can move back in once the sinkhole next door is stabilized.

Stable or not, Allen said he and his family won't return.

"You never know what's going to happen," he said. "I highly doubt that I'll be able to go back in there."

Five days after a sinkhole swallowed Jeffrey Bush in his bedroom, residents along Faithway Drive expressed some unease at having tragedy so close to home.

Ricky Arey lives across the street from the now demolished house. Since Thursday night, he has watched engineers, fire rescue, TV trucks and demolition crews invade his street.

After the sinkhole formed, officials tested his yard. His home was on denser soil, they told him.

But his wife still can't sleep.

"How could you sleep?" he said. "Everybody's concerned."

Arey said he also frets about his homeowner's insurance rate increasing and the price of his home declining.

But, he added, "what are you going to do?"

Across the street, workers removed the house's foundation and dumped gravel on the sinkhole to stabilize it.

The homes on either side will also be examined, said Hillsborough County spokesman Willie Puz. It is unclear how long that would take.

A few houses down, Emilia Rosario lives with her two daughters and two grandchildren.

"We are a little scared," she said Tuesday, adding that a sinkhole inspector examined their home Monday. She plans to travel to the Dominican Republic soon and worries about leaving her family alone.

Other neighbors lingered by the crime scene tape still tethered across the road to catch a glimpse of the empty lot.

"It could happen anywhere," said neighbor Robert Forsythe. "We can't stop it."

Leon Fisher walked his Rottweiler, Ebony, near the scene Tuesday morning.

"If it happens, it happens," he said. "I'm just hoping they do put some kind of memorial for that man. He deserves it."

Some of Bush's loved ones gathered across the street on Arey's lawn.

Janell Wheeler, who lived inside the home where Bush died, said some family members are staying at a hotel. Others are with family. They expect to move into a rented home by next week, she said.

While workers demolished the home on Monday, a second sinkhole was discovered 2 miles to the northeast along Cedar Tree Lane beneath the fence that divides two side yards. Officials said Monday the sinkhole is unrelated to the one on Faithway Drive.

Along that street, some residents were also anxious about their homes.

"We are concerned because the situation is so close," said Robinson Murillo, who lives across the street from the sinkhole.

His neighbor, Lisbel Vargas, is waiting for insurance money to repair a crack in her living room wall. The new sinkhole is just one house away from her home.

On Monday night, Vargas slept in a motel.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Laura C. Morel can be reached at [email protected] or (813)226-3386.

   
Comments

One man stabbed to death during Saturday incident in Plant City

PLANT CITY — A man stabbed another man to death Saturday night, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.The two men, neither of whom were identified, got into "an altercation," deputies said, about 10:15 p.m. at 4308 James L Redman Park...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Police: Man, 60, arrested for fleeing from fatal Largo pedestrian crash

Police: Man, 60, arrested for fleeing from fatal Largo pedestrian crash

LARGO — A 60-year-old man who police said was the driver in a fatal pedestrian hit-and-run on East Bay Drive from three days prior was arrested by Largo Police on Saturday, the department said.Victor Bonavita was arrested on three charges in relation...
Published: 02/24/18
Sheriff: Roads reopen after Tampa crash results in natural gas leak near Citrus Park Mall

Sheriff: Roads reopen after Tampa crash results in natural gas leak near Citrus Park Mall

TAMPA — Officials reopened roads near Citrus Park Mall Saturday evening that had been closed in the afternoon for a natural gas leak caused by a car crash, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said. The Sheriff’s Office and Hillsborough County Fi...
Published: 02/24/18
Police: Male motorcyclist crashed, then the driver was run over by two cars

Police: Male motorcyclist crashed, then the driver was run over by two cars

TAMPA — A male motorcyclist died early Saturday morning on the Courtney Campbell Causeway, the Tampa Police Department said.About 1:35 a.m., the victim rode his motorcycle west on the Courtney Campbell at high speeds, police said. The motorcycle stru...
Published: 02/24/18
Broward sheriff’s office launches internal investigations amid questions after Parkland massacre

Broward sheriff’s office launches internal investigations amid questions after Parkland massacre

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office said it is investigating allegations that multiple deputies failed to enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, after the shooting rampage there, adding to the mounting internal probes examin...
Published: 02/24/18
Police: Registered sex offender who attacked Marriott hotel worker arrested

Police: Registered sex offender who attacked Marriott hotel worker arrested

TAMPA — A registered sex offender was arrested early Saturday morning by Tampa Police in connection with a hotel worker who was attacked earlier this week, the department said.John Eckhard, 41, was arrested about 1:30 a.m. on charges of aggravated ba...
Published: 02/24/18
Parents accused of torturing their 13 children face new charges

Parents accused of torturing their 13 children face new charges

The 13 Turpin siblings gained their freedom last month after one of them escaped through a window and called 911, ending years of imprisonment under parents accused of starving and chaining them to their beds in a putrid home not far from Los Angeles...
Published: 02/24/18
Concerned about gun posts, dad turns in son’s phones. Cops find something else.

Concerned about gun posts, dad turns in son’s phones. Cops find something else.

After the Parkland school shooting that horrified the nation, a Miami father told police he was worried about his son’s disturbing posts with guns on Instagram and Snapchat.So he gave investigators his son’s smartphones — and they found child porn, c...
Published: 02/24/18
Trump processes Fla. students’ grief as president, parent

Trump processes Fla. students’ grief as president, parent

WASHINGTON — Once again, it was the images of children that propelled President Donald Trump to act. Trump spent the first days after the Feb. 14 school shooting in Florida fixated on the grieving and anguished students and parents. While at his Flor...
Published: 02/24/18
Gun legislation unease looms over Tampa gun show attendees, vendors

Gun legislation unease looms over Tampa gun show attendees, vendors

TAMPA — Hundreds lined up minutes after one of the state’s biggest gun shows opened its doors Saturday morning at the Florida State Fairgrounds.About 400 people from the entrance stood Austin Nichols, a 19-year-old looking to get a deal on bullets. H...
Published: 02/23/18
Updated: 02/24/18