Local homeowners looking for help with crumbling foundations | News


WALES, MA (WGGB/WSHM) – The collapse of a condominium building in Surfside, Florida has left the nation mourning.

Now the situation is highlighting infrastructure failures here in Massachusetts.

Homeowners in Wales are racing to find help to keep their homes from crumbling.

Several homeowners tell Western Mass News their homes are all deteriorating from a mineral that was used in the concrete to build their houses.

Mike Milanese of Wales says they need help before it’s too late. He showed us his foundation.

“These brown spots are the mineral pyrrhotite,” said Milanese.

The mineral is rare, but when exposed to water and oxygen, it expands, causing concrete to crack and eventually crumble to the ground.

The process is well underway in Mike Milanese’s home in Wales, one of the worst cracked foundations in the state.

The fix is expensive, costing anywhere from $125,000 to $250,000 to lift the house and take all the concrete out.

Milanese’s walls are covered with deep cracks and holes both inside and outside of the house.

With just one touch, parts of the basement wall turn to dust.

He shows Western Mass News the damage.

“It goes all the way through the concrete wall so what’s happening here it’s going all the way through,” said Milanese.

Milanese adds that the right side of his wall is even starting to cave in, saying, “Eventually it will come through, it will fall in.”

It’s a nightmare Milanese isn’t facing alone. Pyrrhotite in concrete is estimated to affect thousands of people in Massachusetts.

That’s why residents across the region have created a group called Massachusetts Residents Against Crumbling Foundations.

Bill Emrich of Sturbridge expresses his worries over his foundation.

“You worry all the time, is this thing going to fall in? Every time you go on vacation you wonder, is it going to be standing when you get back,” said Emrich.

Another Wales resident, Lee Hamer, can fit a pen in their house’s cracks.

“I can stick a pen inside one of the cracks, the floor is cracking falling apart.” Hamer continues on to say, “Our house it’s all paid off, and we’re hoping to pass it down to our daughter. How are you going to do that when your house is falling?”

The fight to allocate state money to fix their foundations has been ongoing for years.

However, when the Champlain Towers in Surfside, Florida collapsed just two weeks ago, structural problems first noted years ago came to the forefront as a potential cause. Now local homeowners are looking for action.

The founder of Massachusetts Residents Against Crumbling Foundations, Michelle Loglisci, is refusing to stand by and wait for another tragedy.

“They knew about it and the fix was expensive, so it wasn’t done when it was needed. We don’t want to be in that position with all these homeowners living in homes that they don’t feel safe and wondering what could happen while they sleep,” said Loglisci.

The impacted homeowners are pushing for a bill in the legislature that would start the groundwork to help them fix their homes. There is also a push to use some money from the American Rescue Plan to go towards repair costs.

If you are interested in helping that group, or need to report a cracked foundation in your home visit www.massracf.com

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