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Crews to raze Fla. home over sinkhole; man missing (+video)

Crews began demolishing a Florida home Sunday that is perched over a huge sinkhole, after deeming it too dangerous to keep searching for the man swallowed up from his bedroom.

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Crews planned to begin demolishing a Florida home Sunday that is perched over a huge sinkhole, after deeming it too dangerous to keep searching for the man swallowed up from his bedroom.

The search for Jeff Bush, 37, was called off Saturday and demolition equipment was seen moving into position Sunday. The 20-foot-wide opening of the sinkhole is almost completely covered by the house and rescuers feared it would collapse on them. Two neighboring homes were evacuated as a precaution.

Heavy equipment, including a vehicle with a big bucket scoop on a long arm, was on the street near the house Sunday morning. Family members gathered on lawn chairs, bundled up with blankets against unusually chilly weather. Several dozen people milled about within view, including officials and reporters.

Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill disclosed the plan hours earlier to raze the home. "At this point it's really not possible to recover the body," Merrill said, later adding "we're dealing with a very unusual sinkhole."

Jessica Damico, spokeswoman for Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, said the demolition equipment would be positioned on what was believed to be solid ground and reach onto the property to pull apart the house. The crew was expected to try pulling part of the house away from the sinkhole intact so some of the residents' keepsakes can be retrieved.

Bush was in his bedroom Thursday night in Seffner — a suburb of 8,000 people 15 miles east of downtown Tampa — when the ground opened and took him and everything else in his room. Five others in the house escape unharmed as the earth crumbled.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is conducting the investigation. Det. Larry McKinnon said that sheriff's office and the county medical examiner cannot declare Bush dead if his body is still missing. Under Florida law, Bush's family must petition a court to declare him deceased.

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