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Storm Causes House To Collapse On Plum Island, Two More To Be Torn Down

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NEWBURY (CBS) – The barrage of waves and beach erosion from the latest winter storm caused a home to collapse on Plum Island Friday morning, and left two more so structurally unsound, they will need to be torn down.

There are no reports of any injuries.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports from Plum Island

The home that collapsed on Friday already had a cracked foundation, and the latest storm surge brought the house down.

Steve Bandoian, the owner of the home, who is currently in Florida for the winter says he thinks the home’s collapse could have been prevented.

“It’s not a surprise,” he said of the house collapsing. “This has been going on. We’ve been making every possible effort to protect that house since it first became a problem in December.”

Bandoian says beach erosion only began threatening his home back in December. But, his attempts to build a barrier and protect the house ran into continual road blocks.

“We have been trying to get the permits to replace that wall and to armor that property so that it could be protected since December. We’ve gotten nowhere; and of course now it’s too late,” Bandoian said. “I’m not pointing fingers at anybody at this particular time, but that dune was eaten away… Nobody would let us do anything. Every time we tried to do anything, we just had more of a problem and we kept getting turned down.”

Beach erosion on Plum Island is nothing new. According to Bandoian, the area has dealt with shifting sands since he can remember.

“Up until the last four or five years, (the beach) has built out, not eroded back. And (erosion) only happened since the jetties were damaged. Now, if the jetties get repaired, who knows, that land – all of it may be back in a period of time,” he said.

In recent days, seven homes in the area had lost their occupancy licenses because of the damage from previous storms.

Two of those homes, both direct neighbors of the home that collapsed on Friday, sustained additional damage during this week’s storm. Demolition crews were expected to tear them down on Saturday.

The fire department told WBZ-TV’s Michael Rosenfield the homeowners had vacated the house earlier this week.

Kristen Kilty, a neighbor who has lived on Plum Island for 10 years, says the home that toppled had boulders stacked in front of it for a number of years to protect against the ocean’s wrath.

Of the coastline, she says sand dunes used to block her view when she first moved there. Those dunes are now gone.

“I used to look out my window when I moved here, I could only see the sunrise on the horizon and the water way off in the distance. At this point in time, the ocean is probably about 30 feet from my house,” she said.

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