Erosion Threatens Oceanfront Homes

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By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, Friday, April 20, 2007

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON — Safety crews worked frantically Wednesday morning as astronomical high tides threatened one oceanfront home and put five others in danger of slipping into the Atlantic Ocean.

Hampton Fire Inspector Jeffrey LeDuc said the department was called in at 8 a.m. by a neighbor who reported that a section of the concrete sea wall had collapsed threatening one home at 1064 Ocean Blvd.

The foundation of the summer home, owned by Kevin Pierce, cracked and the back porch overlooking the ocean and the stairs leading down to the beach were swept away with the tide.

Crews worked relentlessly setting down boulders and Jersey barriers in an effort to hold back the rising waters. But the house began to slip into the ocean before high tide around 12:45 p.m.

"We will be here as long as it takes," LeDuc said.

Building Inspector Kevin Schultz said his strategy was to use the rocks and barriers to fend off the high tide and secure the foundation.

"Right now we are racing against the clock to stop any more erosion," Schultz said.

Once the tide went out, contractors continued piling rocks and Jersey barriers and added support beams to keep the house from slipping any further.

LeDuc said officials are also still closely monitoring five other homes that are also in danger.

Pierce, who lives in Tewksbury, Mass, said the summer home has been in his family for more than 50 years.

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