SEFFNER, FL (WFLA) – Early Wednesday morning, crews started the work of demolishing the first of two houses located on each side of a house, where a sinkhole swallowed a man months ago.
The two homes have sat vacant since being condemned by Hillsborough County three months ago because of the sinkhole in the now vacant lot next door. Hillsborough County spokesman Willie Puz said, “all three properties are still impacted by the initial sinkhole with unstable ground and after the demolition is done the fence will stay up to secure all three properties.”
Lisa Jaudon lived with her family in this house on Faithway Drive for 21 years. She said, “our life has dramatically changed, but we are little by little, letting go thru lots of prayer just coming to terms.”
Jaudon’s family watched as crews tore down their home. “Its weird it is still very surreal you just still find it hard to believe that this is actually happening”, said jaudon.
The families in the two homes were allowed to go in weeks ago and briefly retrieve important family items and other belongings. And while they have since settled with their insurance companies and have new homes, that doesn’t make this day any easier for them.
Jaudon added, “I don’t think you totally say goodbye, but you just goodbye to the house and you still retain those memories that you have, the times of laughter, and the children running thru the house.”
As the property owners watched from afar. Work crews were also kept at a safe distance while tearing down the homes because of the ground conditions.
Puz went on to say, “that’s one of the reasons we are keeping a secure zone…and why we are using the long reach excavator to pull the home demolition to the curb, so the backhoe excavator can out it into the can. they are not going right up to the property.”
By the end of the day, both homes and their contents had been reduced to rubble and the debris hauled away.
Earlier, work crews and heavy equipment arrived on Faithway Drive early Wednesday morning. The demolition began about 9 a.m. By mid-afternoon the houses were close to being leveled.
A large sinkhole swallowed a neighbor, Jeff Bush, and part of the house he lived in on March 1. The rest of the home was demolished. The sinkhole was filled in with gravel and concrete. Search and rescue crews never recovered Bush’s body.
Engineers determined the land under the two adjacent homes was still unstable, according to Hillsborough County officials. They condemned the homes at 238 and 242 Faithway Drive on April 1.
The homeowners went inside to gather some belongings in March. They have not been permitted back inside, according to Hillsborough County Public Information Manager Willie Puz.
The county hired a private demolition company to tear down the homes. Hillsborough County Code Enforcement will oversee the work. Officials expect the demolition to last three days.
County officials said there are no plans for the land once it’s cleared. Bush’s brother told News Channel 8 he would like to see some kind of memorial put up there