Hatteras Island resident: Vacation home 'crumbled into ocean'

Posted September 4, 2011

— For the first time since Hurricane Irene hit, some Hatteras Island residents returned to the island Sunday to check on their properties after floodwater tore a breach in N.C. Highway 12 eight days ago.

All Hatteras Island residents will be allowed to return by ferry on Monday.

Janet Martin thought Tailwinds, her renovated vacation home at Mirlo Beach, had survived the wind and sound surge, but on Friday, she learned that it suddenly collapsed.

"I cried most of the day on Friday (and) still cry sometimes," she said. "We loved that house."

Tailwinds collapse Hatteras Island home collapses eight days after Irene

The house slowly fell into the sea because of increased erosion caused by Irene. Once it fell, waves ripped it apart.

"I guess we just never thought it would crumble into the ocean," Martin said.

She and her husband have not decided whether they'll rebuild, but Martin said she'd like to see Hatteras Island make a comeback.

"It's just a beautiful part of the country, so yes, we are definitely praying and hoping that they will fully restore that area," she said.

The Martins said they are working with their insurance company and aren't sure when they'll return to the Outer Banks.


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  • IndependentAmerican Sep 8, 2011

    I always marvel at people who say things like "my insurance should not go up to pay for their loss". Hurricane Fran did more damage (dollar wise) in Wake county than it did in New Hanover county. So, should the people on Wrightsville beach complain about their insurance going to pay for the Wake county losses?

  • Bob3425 Sep 7, 2011

    BigUNCFan-- great point, however they don't care. They will rebuild to watch it happen again. Insurance company should have the right to refuse to insurance the property. Not the taxpayer responsibility to rebuild. One other person came up with the right idea turn the property into a camp ground.

  • faithlessly hopeful Sep 6, 2011

    Jeez... if you want to live that close to the water, get a boat. Hurricane comin'? No problem... pull up anchor and head out.

  • Z Man Sep 6, 2011

    Here's an idea... Only state owned and run campsites on the outer banks. Hurricane comes, everything gets packed up and removed. Replaced later if possible.

  • cn38of50 Sep 6, 2011

    I have nothing against people ignoring mandatory evacuation orders as long as they don't start screaming to be rescued five minutes after the storm hits. First responders should not have to go out and risk their lives for people who refuse to follow orders.

  • alanrmnc Sep 6, 2011

    You don't build a three story sail in an area that gets the type of winds that come with hurricanes. I am old enough to remember the damage on Topsail Island from Hurricane Hazel. It was their choice to build, but my insurance should not go up to pay for their loss.

  • SirWired Sep 6, 2011

    "I guess we never thought it would crumble into the ocean."

    Mere yards from the ocean: Check.
    Built on a sandy beachfront (as opposed to a rocky shore): Check.
    Part of the world that experiences hurricanes: Check.
    Barrier island made of shifting sands: Check.

    How could it NOT eventually crumble into the ocean?

  • Stand-In-The-Door Sep 6, 2011

    I feel for these folks. However, has this not happened before?

  • chargernut69 Sep 6, 2011

    Don't rebuild NC-12 road and we won't have to keep paying higher insurance to build your house !

    I'm sorry your house washed away, but my insurance should not go up because you built it on sand 50' from the ocean !

  • greg16 Sep 6, 2011

    From Nancy "According to the Milliman report, the Beach Plan has no more than $1.5 billion available to pay for hurricane losses. However, a large storm could likely cost more than $ 7 billion, leaving a $6.2 billion deficit and affecting the Plan’s ability to pay claims."

    While this is true the reason there is no money in the pool is because the state legislature took the funds for the state budget. Otherwise it would be a self-sustaining program.