Owner of collapsed house expresses concerns over contractor - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Owner of collapsed house expresses concerns over contractor

By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) – The salvaged appliances, some furniture, and half the cabinets inside Lanier Lang's house have been removed and safely stored away.  On Wednesday morning, a crew began the demolition process by breaking, clawing and tugging at the stubborn pieces.  

"It breaks my heart that the building behind us is falling," said Lanier Lang.  "My mother lived in it for about 35 years and my kids lived in that same house when they were small."

Lang said he pulled the permit and paid Tri-Star of Moss Point $20,000 to elevate his house on River Road in Gulfport.  It was raised an extra ten feet to meet FEMA elevation standards.  The same company is now demolishing the wooden structure, after the house collapsed Monday morning while crews were getting ready to drill pilings.

"All I got from them was good things, about them being insured and bonded and licensed and all of that good stuff," Lang said. "As things went on and after the house fell, I found out, that they told me that they didn't have insurance.  What was in my mind? I was furious."

WLOX looked up the company's website.  It stated that Tri-Star is licensed, bonded and insured. 

When we asked the project manager for Tri-Star about whether the company was licensed, bonded and insured, James Hinton responded, "I can't make a comment on that right now.  That's got to come from the company itself."

When we asked for the owner's name, Hinton said, "I can't do that at this time.  It's an LLC.  There's more than one partner involved, so I can't discuss that at this time."

Mr. Lang pointed to a man standing on his property as the company owner, James Thomas. Thomas was overseeing the house demolition; however, he declined an on-camera interview with WLOX and did not return any of our phone calls.

Mr. Lang said he was waiting for an elevation grant to help cover some of the costs.  He plans to work on designs for a new house soon.

"I don't anticipate any difficulty whatsoever," said Lang. "But you see what's happened already, so there's no guarantee that I won't have some more difficulty. I hope not."

WLOX contacted the state Board of Contractors about Tri-Star. The director of investigations told us the board found out about the house collapse on Tuesday and is currently checking its  records.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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