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Crews demolish home where sinkhole swallowed man

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BRANDON, Fla. - Crews have started demolishing the Tampa-area home where a man fell into a sinkhole that opened up under his bedroom Thursday night.

Officials said that the sinkhole is too unstable for the heavy equipment needed to recover the man who fell into it.

At a press conference Saturday evening, officials announced they were suspending the recovery effort for 37-year-old Jeff Bush.

Bush fell into the sinkhole when it opened up underneath his bedroom in his home on Faithway Drive in Brandon. The sinkhole is now estimated to be around 60 feet deep, officials said.

Jeremy Bush, who was home at the time, said he fears his brother was killed when the sinkhole formed directly under his brother's bedroom around 11 p.m.

Officials describe the hole as "seriously unstable" and said it will continue to grow.

"The soil cannot hold the slope that it has right now, so we do expect the sinkhole to get bigger," said Larry Madrid of the Madrid Engineering Group.

The opening to the hole is contained within the home, but the void beneath the surface could be three to four times that size, officials said.

"The goal is to get the house removed, the slab removed so we can see the sinkhole. We don't know if the house is going to fall in, but we're going to take every precaution to remove that debris if we can," said Hillsborough County Spokesperson Willie Puz.

Officials have evacuated both houses neighboring the home on Faithway Drive. Those residents were allowed inside their homes to gather some belongings on Friday.

Jeremy Bush said he ran into his brother's bedroom when he disappeared into the sinkhole, but he said he could not save him. He told rescue crews he heard a loud crash, and then heard his brother screaming for help.

"When he got there, there was no bedroom left," fire rescue spokeswoman Jessica Damico said. "There was no furniture. All he saw was a piece of the mattress sticking up."

There has been no contact with Jeff Bush since then and he is presumed dead by authorities.

A small memorial of flowers has been set up across the street from the house.

Residents in surrounding homes were evacuated and Hillsborough County officials said they’re working to find long-term housing for displaced families.