Family reunited with belongings after sinkhole tragedy - FOX 13 News

Family reunited with belongings after sinkhole tragedy

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SEFFNER (FOX 13) -

It's now been one week since a monster sinkhole opened up underneath a home in Seffner and swallowed a man as he slept. 

 The family that owns the home was reunited with some of their most important possessions.

 The fence surrounding the property is slowly filling-up with flowers and balloons from well-wishers.

 Try to imagine what we've all got inside our homes. What was behind that fence, a family had accumulated 40-some years of memories in.

 What they've got left to hold on to now barely fits in half of a small storage unit.

 "I see Minnie Wicker," we said to Buddy Wicker, as he clutched a needlepoint-covered Bible with the name on the inside page.

 "That's my mother," he said proudly.

 Buddy Wicker was holding onto his mother's bible. It's one of the few prized family possessions they were able to save.

 "If she was going to go visit somebody, she had this in her purse," said Wicker.

 "She took it with her because she loved to read this here."

 The family gave only FOX13 a look inside their storage unit.

 This is the first time they've had any down time, to see what survived once their house was torn down.

 "After losing everything, this is all," said Buddy Wicker, holding a blue, wooden plank, with their house number 240 on it, and that is all that's left.

 And would you believe, after a lifetime of memories on Faithway Drive, the remaining items fit in less than one-half of a five-foot by ten-foot unit.

 "My mama's handkerchief," said Janelle Wicker, who was brought to tears as her mother's handkerchief was fished out, including family photographs, which brought a few smiles and some terrific memories.

 "It tears me up inside because that house had so many firsts in it," said Wanda Wicker.

 "I mean, honestly, I had my first kiss in the front yard," she said.

 She said students at Riverview High School collected a pick-up truck full of supplies. Plus, they have two other storage units filled only with clothing people have dropped off for them.

 "It's difficult, but each day, you know, you take each day, day by day," said Norman Wicker.

 "It's only gonna get better. It can't possibly get any worse," she said.

 "That house may have just been four walls, but the inside of that house was just like our heart," said Wanda Wicker.

 The Wickers tell FOX13, for the very first time in the last eight days, they are finally starting to relax and get some much-needed sleep. 

They are so grateful for all of the donations and support they're going to share it all with the neighbors on either sides of their house, who are also in danger of losing everything.

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