Sandy-Damaged Home Collapse Under Investigation - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Sandy-Damaged Home Collapse Under Investigation

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LITTLE EGG HARBOR TWP., N.J. -
Investigators returned on Thursday to a shore home on Kansas Road, looking for clues to explain how the house that contractors were raising collapsed Wednesday evening.

"I don't know if we'll ever be able to distinguish from an investigation what caused the actual problem there," said Little Egg Harbor Township Administrator Garrett Loesch.

Workers for Eco Friendly Builders were in the process of raising a Hurricane Sandy-devastated home around 5 o'clock when something went wrong and the home crumpled to the ground.

"It's either a mechanical failure of the raising process, or it's a structural failure that the home couldn't handle it," Loesch told Fox 29.

The township says the contractor had all the right permits, insurance and experience to do this job.

"They did supply the credentials needed. It includes an engineer stating the house is stable enough to be raised," Loesch explained.

Contractors who stopped by to see the damage say the key to a successful house raising is having the right contractor.

"You want a reputable contractor, somebody who's got the experience that's been in the business for a long time," said Dan Galletta, who works for a company that does surveying before a home can be raised.

With hundreds of homes damaged in Super Storm Sandy and new requirements that certain shore homes be raised to prevent future damage, some wonder the impact this collapse could have and if something similar could happen again.

"A lot of old houses around here, and a lot of them shouldn't be lifted," said contractor Jason Scull who just raised a home right around the corner from the collapse site.

If somebody sees this happen, they're gonna take note and be real careful. You don't want to take any chances," Galletta added.

Township officials say so far over 140 homeowners have applied to have their houses raised to meet new regulations and they expect many more. These projects cost $50,000 to $70,000 to complete.

Homeowners who are about to have their homes lifted told Fox 29 they are concerned about their upcoming projects. Township officials say each and every project is carefully reviewed before it can get started. They point out that this is the first accident involving a home raising project in the township.

The contractor told Fox 29 he believes a defective beam inside the home may have caused the collapse as workers were raising the house.

Other contractors we spoke with say that is just one of several possibilities that could have lead to the collapse. 
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