House collapses as crew tries to elevate it - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

House collapses as crew tries to elevate it

By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) –  Lanier Lang could not believe his eyes when he inspected what was left of his house on River Road in Gulfport.

"I was totally upset when my cousin called me," Lang remembered. "She said, 'I hate to tell you this.  It breaks my heart to tell you that the house fell off the blocks.' I said, 'What?'"

On Monday morning, the back of the house cracked and collapsed, while the front was being held up by wooden support beams and a piece of construction equipment.

"The flooring in the house actually gave way. It's very unusual.  Worst case scenario," said James Hinton.

Hinton is the project manager for Tri-Star of Moss Point.  He and his crew started elevating the house about a month ago. They were getting ready to drill piles, when the house fell to the ground.

"We called in reinforcements. Unfortunately, they didn't get here in time and she buckled from the inside, the flooring underneath."

Hinton said he was working under one corner of the house when he heard cracking noises coming from the other side.  Seconds later, the house started coming down piece by piece.  And that gave him just enough time to get out.

"One of the 6x6s you see right there, with such pressure, they shoot out.  When they shoot out really fast, it caught me in the knee pretty decently. But I'll be all right," said Hinton.  "When you're under tons and tons and tons and all that's there is some wooden jacks and steel, it does the job, but it scares you to death."

Several neighbors said they weren't surprised at all, because the house had flooded in Katrina and the ground is soft and unstable.  Marty Miller said he actually had a premonition about the house.

"Oh yeah, you can even ask the neighbor lady," Miller said. "I called her and said, 'You better get out of the way. I feel the house next door is going to collapse.' And it collapsed while I was on the phone."

Neighbors told us the wooden house has a lot of history.  It's called Driftwood Lodge because Mr. Lang's late mother loved to collect driftwood from the Biloxi River behind the house.

Lang had planned to sell the house after it was raised to FEMA elevation standards.  Despite just losing his house, Lang was in good spirits.

"I wish I had sold it yesterday," he said with a laugh. 

Lang certainly has reason to be thankful.

"Praise the Lord that it did not hurt anybody seriously," Lang said.

Lang helped rebuild the house after it burned in 1999.  He said building it back this time, depends on how much he'll receive from insurance.

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