Hillsborough County
David Gee, Sheriff
Tampa, FL
  • Video from 11/19/2013 Florida Cabinet Meeting:

    From Gov. Scott:

    On February 28th at 2301 hours, a 911 call was received and the caller was hysterically stating the bedroom floor had collapsed and her brother was trapped under the house. Deputies and members of Hillsborough County Fire Rescue were immediately dispatched to the scene. No one knew the magnitude of the situation while enroute or the number of people this call would impact.

    Deputy Duvall arrived on scene within minutes and was met with hysterical family members screaming at him and telling him that another family member was "in the hole" and trying to locate the body of the first family member who had been "swallowed" by the ground.

    With little regard for his own personal safety and placing his own life in imminent danger, Deputy Duvall entered the residence and ran towards the individual, who was yelling for help from the bedroom area. What Deputy Duvall witnessed was usually what people pay to see when they watch a horror movie. The ground underneath the concrete slab residence had given way and created a sinkhole
    that spread across the entire width of the bedroom and was rapidly growing. Witnessing the man in the hole being covered with dirt and frantically trying to crawl out to no avail, Deputy Duvall reacted, went to the edge of the hole, reached out, grabbed the man by his wrists and pulled him to safety. As Deputy Duvall and the man ran from the room the hole widened and took with it the rest of the furniture.

    Deputy Duvall and the man (later identified as Jeremy Bush) escaped certain death by just seconds. Jeremy Bush was in the hole trying to locate his brother (Jeffery Bush), who was asleep and was "swallowed" when the ground opened up. As of this writing the body of Jeffery Bush has not been recovered and is presumed lost in the earth.

    The scene was so unprecedented that members of Hillsborough County Fire Rescue were not able to make entry due to the unstable ground and the potential for a complete collapse of the residence.

    Everyday, members of the Sheriff's Office see the words "To Serve and Protect" on the side of the patrol cars. Those are words that every deputy lives by and on this evening, Deputy Douglas Duvall epitomized the phrase. I personally spoke with family members at the scene who called him a hero and an angel from heaven.

    Deputy Duvall is very deserving of this prestigious award.

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