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Insurer inspected, approved home months before sinkhole killed man

Snkhole Swallows ManFive 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.

More than a week ago, a 20-foot-wide sinkhole yawned under Wicker’s Seffner home, killing one of its residents, and sucking down a bedroom. The entire home was later demolished.

In an interview with USA Today, Wicker said he was stunned by the incident, given the inspector’s report. A State Farm spokeswoman would not comment specifically on the case but confirmed an inspector had been to Wicker’s house.

“They said everything looked good,” Wicker, 75, said. “They looked for cracks and stuff like that in the wall. They didn’t see any. I was told it was all OK.”

The incident Feb. 28 gained national attention and rekindled talk about sinkholes in Florida, which sees more of the phenomenon than any other state.

That night, Jeff Bush, 37, was asleep in his bedroom at the home at around 11 p.m. when the sinkhole suddenly opened, swallowing him and all of his bedroom furniture. Hillsborough County Fire Rescue called off the search for his body two days later when the area around the hole became too unstable.

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