Florida sinkholes and the inspector – chapter 9

Earlier this month, a sinkhole swallowed 37-year-old Jeffrey Bush while he was sleeping, killing him. His brother valiantly attempted to rescue him, but the mud and debris was too much, the sinkhole too unstable and any attempt for a rescue was called off. In the end, Jeffrey could only scream for help as he sunk into the dreary abyss. Hell itself seemed to have swallowed him. His grave is a dirt-filled opening.


Since then, demolition crews have demolished the house and neighbors have vacated their homes. Although the event is unusual, as sinkholes rarely cause the loss of human life, sinkholes are indeed a serious problem in certain areas of the country, especially sundrenched Florida. Potential sinkholes are something an inspector should notice. Occupants should be aware that their property is on unstable land, that there is the possibility of a sinkhole. If not, the results could be disastrous, as what happened to Jeffrey Bush.


Florida sinkholesSinkholes are common in Florida, but of late, they are appearing even more frequently. Buddy Wicker owned the house that Jeffrey Bush called home. Buddy assumed the house was safe. An inspector had even been to the house! In the article, “Fla. Home swallowed by sinkhole had passed inspection,” Rick Jervis of USA Today writes, “Five months before the earth opened and swallowed his home, Buddy Wicker welcomed inspectors sent by State Farm Insurance to his house, who surveyed the property and deemed it free of any sinkhole risk.” What happened then? Florida is known for its sinkholes. Inspectors down there should be well versed on the subject.


Although an error on the inspector’s part, we cannot put all of the blame on him or her. Sinkholes are often difficult to detect. Lynn McChristian, representative for the Insurance Information Institute, said, “No one knows for certain when and where a sinkhole can happen.” That is beyond unsettling. This uncertainty, along with the problem of fraudulent sinkhole claims, has insurers reluctant to perform geological tests. Could Jeffrey Bush’s death been prevented with geological testing? That is just one of the questions on many Floridian minds.


The wars an inspector fights are many. The job entails more than just water intrusion or mold. There are sinkholes and other potential disasters. Inspectors all over the country have to deal with geographically unique problems. Floridian inspectors, for example, must deal with sinkholes. Regardless of where you live, inspectors are here to help, especially the team at Center Grove Inspections!


For more information on Florida sinkholes, you can find the USA Today article here.


*Image courtesy of Scott Ehardt

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