Seffner, FL (WTSP) -- As crews started demolition of the house where a sinkhole trapped a man as he slept, they seemed to have an even bigger priority than demolition: preservation.
Firefighters searched through debris and rubble to piece together as many of the family's belongings as they could, from photos to an old Bible containing family baptism records.
As pieces of the house at 240 Faithway Drive ripped apart, decades of memories and photos peeled away with them, a painful sight for a tight-knit family already grieving the loss of a loved one. The search has been called off for Jeff Bush, the man swallowed by the sinkhole that struck the house Thursday night.
"Terrifying, heartbroken," Jordan Wheeler, Bush's cousin, described his feelings as the demolition began. "I just don't even know what to think sometimes. All those memories, childhood, down the drain."
"I had my eyes closed," added Wanda Carter, the daughter of the house's owner. "I couldn't watch. It was too hard."
Meanwhile, crews stood by to make sure the house didn't give way. They likely won't know until Monday how demolition and time have affected the sinkhole.
"We didn't know if any vibrations would set it off to where it would collapse. Surprisingly, it's holding up," says Hillsborough County Public Utilities director John Lyons.
Bush's family is trying to hold up too, remembering the 37-year-old who they say was dedicated to family.
"I think about him every day. Every day. It's hard to sleep now," Wheeler said.
On Monday, crews plan to focus demolition closer to the bedroom where this tragedy began. That could give them a closer view of the sinkhole.
The fate is still unknown of the two other houses evacuated because crews believe the sinkhole compromised them. A website has been created to take donations for the family directly affected by the sinkhole.