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A broken home full of memories

Scott Audette / Reuters

Demolition crews and Hillsborough County Fire Department watch as the house, where Jeffrey Bush was swallowed by a sinkhole, is demolished in Seffner, Florida March 3, 2013.

 

Seffner, Fla. — There was an eerie silence, broken only by the crunching of wood.

For two and a half hours on Sunday morning, a crane picked apart the home that had already been destroyed by a deadly sinkhole. The operator specifically targeted certain keepsakes. An American flag.

Military awards. A purse. Pictures. The home's address marker, with the number 240.

And a Bible, a symbol of faith, plucked from the crumbling house on Faithway Drive.

Wanda Carter clutched the family heirloom.

"God works in mysterious ways, and he knew we needed this," said Carter, referring to Bible.

"I haven't let it go since I got it, and I won't."

"It's terrible, I knew when the fire department and other rescue workers wouldn't go into the house, that was his last resting place," said the brother of Jeff Bush, 36, who was plunged into the sinkhole as he slept in his bedroom and is presumed dead. NBC's Gabe Gutierrez reports.

She had previously lived in the house after her family bought it in 1974, she said. She will miss the memories.

Her sister Janell Wheeler, who still resided in the home, said she will never forget the Christmases.

Chris O'meara / AP

Jeremy Bush, right, is consoled by an unidentified woman Sunday, March 3, 2013, as he sits outside a home where a sinkhole opened up underneath a bedroom late Thursday evening, swallowing his brother, Jeffrey Bush, in Seffner, Fla. Crews on Sunday began the demolition of the Florida home.

Wheeler said she was in home late Thursday night when she heard the loud crash. She is haunted by the moment she realized one of the bedrooms was gone.

Jeffery Bush, 36, had been renting space inside the house. He'd only been there several months, but was a family friend. On Saturday, crews gave up the search for him, presuming he died in the sink hole.

"He was a fabulous guy, he was a great uncle, everybody loved him, he was fun, a hard worker," said Wheeler.

Half of the home is still standing — memories exposed for all to see. What still can't be seen is the actual hole.

The hole that sucked a man beneath the earth while he slept -- his body, never to be recovered, authorities said.

The demolition is scheduled to continue on Monday. Then engineers will decide how best to fill the 30-feet-wide by 50-feet-deep hole to stabilize the surrounding area.

But for one family — the void will never be filled.

Related: Demolition begins on home in Florida sinkhole tragedy

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue

HCFR's Captain Roberts presents family member Janell Wheeler with a photo that was recovered. She said it was only picture she had of her mother.