Ike-damaged homes starting to be demolished

April 12, 2010 4:19:03 PM PDT
It was a beautiful day to be on the beach in Galveston, but right alongside the calming sounds of the Gulf was the roaring of bulldozers wrecking homes left abandoned after Hurricane Ike. Hurricane damaged homes that were bought out by the city are now coming down. The demolition went on all day Monday and it's just the beginning.

"This will be down today," said Joel Cron.

He's in the demolition business and these days, work is picking up thanks to a long-awaited government buyout program of abandoned houses damaged by Hurricane Ike.

"There's a lot involved and you don't want to be too close to the machine," said Cron.

The federal buyout program aims to clear away decaying, Ike-damaged homes. On Galveston Island, 68 homes qualified including one just across the street from Debbie Wojcik's house.

"The first thing I did this morning was come out to my porch and start clapping," said Wojcik.

Like so many of the remaining homeowners, the abandoned homes have become a sore spot for Wojcik.

"Families vacation here in the summer time and these abandoned houses are not safe for people to be around, so they need to go," Wojcik said.

One by one, the houses that qualify will be taken down, with the goal of getting all the houses demolished before the start of hurricane season in June. The pace, though not as fast as some residents would like, is picking up just in time.

"I thought by now that some of these houses would be down. That one house looks like the winds will knock it down, and it's caved in the middle," said Exie Markowsky.

Adding to the complications is that we're in the middle of turtle season, so all of the demolition contractors had to be trained how to recognize turtle nests.


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