The sinkhole that killed a man and swallowed his home in Florida in 2013 has reopened

The sinkhole that killed a man and swallowed his home in Florida in 2013 has reopened

A sinkhole that claimed the life and home of a Florida man while he slept has returned for a third time.

Since the 2013 death of Seffner, a 37-year-old Florida resident, the sinkhole has been surrounded by a chain-link fence to protect residents of the Tampa suburb from further damage.

An attempt in 2015 saw officials fill the hole with a mixture of gravel and water after opening it a second time.

However, the sinkhole was 19 feet (6 meters) wide at its largest — and state records show that Florida sinkholes can grow up to 400 feet (121 meters), swallowing cars, businesses and, in one 2006 instance, Scott Scott Lake.

According to John-Paul Lavandera, director of the nearby Hillsborough County Code Enforcement Department, ‘no homes in the neighborhood appear to be in any danger.’

A sinkhole that claimed the life and home of a Florida man as he slept has returned for a third time in 2015 despite efforts to neutralize the opening with a mixture of gravel and water. This photo provided by Hillsborough County shows the sinkhole on the now abandoned property

Demolition experts watch as a house collapses after a sinkhole opens up below on March 3, 2013.

Dunedin Deputy Fire Chief Trip Burs said the hole appeared to be about 12-feet wide when officials arrived on the scene in 2013.

The world opened up on the night of Feb. 28, 2013, when 37-year-old Jeff Bush was swallowed by the sinkhole as he slept in his bedroom — a suburb of 8,000 people 15 miles east of downtown Tampa.

Five others escaped the house unscathed, including Jeff’s brother, Jeremy, who returned in an attempt to save him as it was partially absorbed by the sinkhole’s maw.

Jeremy Bush, then 36, recalled how he tried to pull his brother from the wreckage after hearing Jeff’s screams for help.

‘I ran over there and I heard somebody screaming, my brother was screaming and I ran over there,’ he told MyFox Tampa Bay.

‘And all I see is this big hole. All I see is on his bed. I couldn’t see anything else, so I jumped into the hole and tried to pull him out.

Jeff Bush’s body was never recovered from the sinkhole, and his final resting place underground — where porous Florida limestone diverted groundwater that eroded the foundation of his home — remains unknown.

Without a gravesite to mourn his brother, the fenced-off property served as a grim reminder of the 2013 tragedy for Jeremy and his family.

‘It’s the only place I’ve seen him,’ Jeremy Bush told CSB affiliate WTSP-TV in St. Petersburg, Florida. ‘Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my brother.’

The sinkhole (pictured) is 19 feet (6 meters) wide, but nearby Hillsborough County Code Enforcement Director John-Paul Lavender assured the public that no homes in the neighborhood ‘are in any danger. ‘

The world opened up on the night of February 28, 2013, when Seffner, Florida-native Jeff Bush was swallowed by a sinkhole as he slept in his bedroom. Demolition crews remove items from the Bush home on Monday, March 4, 2013 (left). Bush (right) was 37 years old

County Code Enforcement Director Paul Lavender told The Associated Press that another attempt will be made to fill the sinkhole with water and gravel.

‘It’s not unusual, what we’re seeing here,’ Lavandera said. ‘We received a call yesterday evening about the depression reopening, so we responded in conjunction with fire rescue and the sheriff’s office.’

‘We made sure the neighboring property was safe,’ according to Lavandera. ‘If there is a recurrence, it is in a controlled area. It will stay right there.’

Sinkholes cost Florida insurers $1.4 billion between 2006 and 2010 alone, according to the state Office of Insurance Regulation.

The phenomenon arises from the interaction between porous limestone and other carbonate rocks that absorb the top-heavy pressure on the highly saturated coastal water table and these volatile subsurface sediments.

‘There’s hardly any place in Florida that’s immune to sinkholes,’ said Geology Consultant Sandy Nettles, ‘there’s no way to predict where a sinkhole will occur.’

While many sinkholes are quite small and deaths are rare, some sinkhole incidents in the state have engulfed areas as large as a block.

An infamous 1981 sinkhole in Winter Park, near Orlando, grew to 400 feet in diameter, swallowing five cars, two businesses, a three-bedroom home, nearby streets and the deep end of an Olympic-size swimming pool.

While there is no indication yet that the Seffner sinkhole could reach that level of damage, Lavandera expressed his opinion that the hole will reopen someday in the future.

‘It’s Mother Nature,’ he noted. ‘This is not a man-made phenomenon.’

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