Sinkhole neighbors face high costs for safety tests - FOX 13 News

Sinkhole neighbors face high costs for safety tests

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

We got a look at the first of what that deadly sinkhole in Seffner looked like from inside the Wicker's home.

Neighbor's got their first look at that video too, as we showed them on our laptop. They learned the homes on either side of the Wicker's house are being condemned and will be torn down. Houses which are right next to theirs!

They just shook their heads and were stunned when we showed them the sinkhole video.

Kevin Charles' eyes get wide at first glance...

"Oh wow!," he said as the video played. "All you see is dirt," we said. "Right," Charles agreed incredulously, as we showed him the gaping sinkhole that took his neighbor Jeff Bush. These were the first daylight hours after Jeff disappeared.

"And even by this point, more of it has fallen in, because Jeremy said he could see Jeff's mattress, basically the top of it initially, now it was all gone," we said. "Whew!," said Charles, shaking his head.

The floor looks torn like a piece of paper, where the floor gave way. Firefighters dangled a camera through his bedroom window. You hear no sound on the footage, only an eerie silence.

"Just looking inside the hole and there's no sign of life." we said. "Yeah, that's shocking," said Charles, who lives just a few feet away from the neighbors, to the left of the Wicker house.

"I'm really worried, me and my mom," said Charles.

They're fed up with sleepless nights and are ready to move. Their house is paid off, but to sell it, with the world's most notorious sinkhole two lots away?

"Probably gonna be impossible," lamented Charles.

And depending on who you talk to, estimates for sinkhole testing, are all over the place.

"The estimates was around 10-thousand, 15-thousand dollars, that's just for a check," said Charles. "It was really crazy!"

Chuck Holloway lives on the other side of the Wickers, and again is only one house away from his neighbor's house, which has been condemned.

His expression changes dramatically, as we break the news, the soil adjacent to his yard, has been deemed unstable by the County.

"So you live, not even 10 feet away," we asked Holloway. "14 feet to be exact!," he said smiling. He's done the math and does not like the numbers he's been quoted.

"It costs 20-thousand dollars for that machinery to come in. And I don't have that kind of money," said Holloway. "So I don't know, it'll never get checked."

People have suggested he and his wife and grandkid who live there, move somewhere else and rent the house out, but Holloway said, no way.

"I sure ain't gonna let nobody rent it, to live in it," he said.

Neighbors told us, it's sad because the owner of the house to the left of the Wickers, just spent about 25-thousand dollars renovating and upgrading the house. Soon, it will be torn down.

The County advises the two homeowners to pay for a third party to come in and re-check their soil for any additional instability, before trying to enter the homes to remove their belongings.

Another homeowner told us, he bought sinkhole coverage, and with that, he gets free sinkhole testing. So after the diagnosis from the County Tuesday, that both lots are unstable, he's getting his lot across the street checked next week.

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