It’s sad to see someone’s home collapse in the midst of tidal flooding.
Two homes fell into the sea on the Outer Banks of North Carolina in the community of Rodanthe, WFLA-TV reported.
But there are several stories tied into the May 10 event, a bit like matryoshkas, those Russian dolls that open, each revealing a smaller doll inside.
First, neither of the two homes which fell was occupied. Secondly, large numbers of volunteers have aided contractors and National Park Service employees from several states in intense cleanup efforts to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
“They wanted to make their national seashore safe and enjoyable for all,” according to David Hallac, NPS Eastern North Carolina superintendent, WVEC-TV reported.
This week, officials reported that 125 volunteers contributed 215 hours of aid.
The destruction was a tough sight to see, according to Hallac. Fifteen miles of debris — including wood, pipe and concrete mixed with ruptured septic tanks and septic drain fields — arose as a storm brought high tides and wind for several days.
The storm closed Highway 12 and the Marc Basnight Bridge for more than two days. Large amounts of sand washed ashore.
And that brings us to seaside houses, which Hallac said have been at risk for years.
No one was in the two homes that collapsed because occupancy had earlier been condemned, according to Bobby Outten, Dare County manager.
“The homes are insured and once we tag the home as unlivable then, you know, the property owner can’t use the house anymore.”
Outten said the county is continually asking homeowners to move their homes back from the sea, but they refuse.
“Of course, the homeowner’s waiting for them to fall in because that’s how they recover their insurance proceeds and so there’s sort of a back-and-forth with that, trying to prevent the debris [from] getting on the park’s beaches,” he said.
The homeowners are responsible for debris from their wrecked houses, according to Outten, and he said when the homes were built the shoreline was not as close.
Another house collapsed in February, WVEC said, dumping debris into the ocean and the beach.
“Unfortunately, there may be more houses that collapse onto Seashore beaches in the near future,” Halleck said. “We proactively reached out to homeowners along Ocean Drive in Rodanthe after the first house collapse and recommended that actions be taken to prevent collapse and impacts to Cape Hatteras National Seashore.”
Obviously, the efforts of officials like Halleck and Outten were not heeded, and two more houses recently went into the sea.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.