By Linda Chion Kenney
Video: Deputy Douglas Duvall Recounts Seffner Sinkhole Heroics
The only thing Deputy Douglas Duvall knew when he arrived at 240 Faithway Drive in Seffner on Feb. 28 is what he had heard from his dispatcher, that "somebody was trapped under a house."
"The family was outside, everybody was upset," said Duvall, a five-year veteran of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, at an early evening press conference March 1 near the sinkhole-plagued home in Seffner.
"I entered the house, really didn't know what was going on," he added. "I went into the hallway, and when I turnd into the bedroom, the only thing that I saw was a hole."
He also witnessed the heroics of Jeremy Bush, 34, who had jumped into the hole moments earlier in a fervent rush to aid his brother, Jeffrey Bush, 36, who, according to his sister-in-law Amber Wicker, had called out earlier: "Jeremy, help me! Jeremy, help me!"
- See Family Member Recalls 'Horror' of Seffner Sinkhole Tragedy
"I saw Mr. Bush, Jeremy Bush, in the hole, he was on the sides, trying to get out," Duvall said.
"The bed frame, dresser, everything was sinking," he added.
Duvall said he reached down, "got Mr. Bush by the hand and pulled him out."
"I looked and saw no one else in the hole," he added.
Duvall and Jeremy Bush rushed to safety, only to learn moments later that the sinkhole site would be closed, due to unsafe conditions.
Fielding questions from the media, Duvall said he couldn't sleep after the night's ordeal.
"If you guys know this family, know this neighborhood, pray for them," he said. "You can't even imagine something like this happening."
A Brandon, Fla., man is believed to be dead after being swallowed by a sinkhole Thursday night.
Jeffrey Bush, 36, was asleep in bed around 11 p.m. when the ground opened up beneath his home at 240 Faithway Dr., Seffner, and swallowed him, said Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokesman Larry McKinnon.
"It's a movie scene behind there," said McKinnon. "That's what it is."
McKinnon said Bush's mother was asleep in another room when she heard a loud crunching sound. When she rushed to her son's room, she saw that the entire floor had caved in and her son was gone.
Bush's younger brother, Jeremy, 34, said he could hear his brother screaming from inside the hole. He dove in, trying to find his brother as the hole continued caving in.
Deputy Douglas Duvall arrived on the scene and was able to grab Jeremy Bush before he was engulfed as well.
At a press conference, an emotional Jeremy Bush talked about his efforts to save his brother.
"We heard a loud crash. I ran in there. I heard somebody screaming, my brother screaming. And I ran in there and all I could see was this big hole, all I could see was the top of his bed. I didn't see anything else. So I jumped in the hole and tried digging him out. And I couldn't get him out. All I could hear was him screaming, hollering for me. I couldn't do nothing."
Jeremy Bush said he didn't think twice about risking his own life to help his brother.
"I didn’t care. I just wanted my brother," he said.
Officials are now searching the 100-foot-wide and 50-foot-deep sinkhole for signs of life.
Neighboring homes have been evacuated by authorities although the sinkhole is confined to only the Bush home.
The family says the home has never had an issue with sinkholes.
There were five people in the home at the time, including a 2-year-old child.
"It's a giant cavern," said McKinnon.
Patch is now on the scene where a press conference has just concluded.