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Search for sinkhole victim over in Florida

Jeremy Bush places flowers and a stuffed animal at a makeshift memorial on Saturday, March 2, in front of a home where a sinkhole opened up underneath a bedroom late Thursday and swallowed his brother Jeffrey in Seffner, Fla. AP

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By The Associated Press
Saturday, March 2, 2013, 9:06 p.m.

SEFFNER, Fla. — The effort to find the body of a Florida man who was swallowed by a sinkhole under his home was called off on Saturday, and crews planned to begin demolishing the four-bedroom house.

The 20-foot-wide opening of the sinkhole almost is completely covered by the house. Rescuers fear the house would collapse on them if they tried to search for Jeff Bush, 37.

Crews were testing the unstable ground surrounding the home and evacuated two neighboring homes as a precaution.

Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill said heavy equipment would be brought in to begin the demolition Sunday.

“At this point, it's really not possible to recover the body,” Merrill said. “We're dealing with a very unusual sinkhole.”

Jessica Damico, spokeswoman for Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, said the demolition equipment would be placed on what they believe is solid ground and would reach onto the property to pull apart the house. The crew will try to pull part of the house away from the sinkhole so that some heirlooms and mementoes can be retrieved.

Bush was in his bedroom on Thursday night in Seffner, a Tampa suburb of 8,000 people, when the ground opened and took him and everything else in his room. Five others in the house escape unharmed.

A family cried and organized boxes next door. Testing determined their house was compromised by the sinkhole.

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