Katara Simmons/News-Sun Greta McDonald points to the concaved back wall and sagging rear steps of her home in Sebring.
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published: Friday, September 06, 2013
Sagging homes in Snob Hollow raise eyebrows of residents, city
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING -- When Snob Hollow resident Greta McDonald made a call to CNC Plumbing to come take a look at her bathroom issues a little more than three weeks ago, the 80-year-old woman got more bad news than she had anticipated.
McDonald, who has owned her home at 1608 Crescent Drive off of Lakeview Drive for 29 years, was told by the plumber that he wouldn't go under her home to inspect the problem and that she should "get out."
City of Sebring officials were contacted by the plumbing company and told that McDonald's home was sinking.
Ed White, city building official, was told by City Administrator Scott Noethlich to go out and inspect the home in late August.
"We declared the home condemned for occupancy on Aug. 1. She came in here with concerns. I went out and inspected it," White said.
White said the condition of McDonald's home is dangerous.
"Oh, my God, it's awful. After you go in there you start to think that you might want to get out of there. The back wall is bulged out and so is the front, but the back is the worse. There's cracks in all of the walls. None of the doors will shut because of the swelling of the house. The plumbers won't even go underneath her home to fix the plumbing," White said.
McDonald graciously opened her doors to the News-Sun staff Thursday morning and gave a tour of what has become her sinking home.
"It all started here in the bathroom," McDonald said showing the bathroom problems. "The tub wouldn't drain and you can see where the walls are bubbling up. I went to the store to get something to try to help it. I've re-caulked the tub several times, about every two months. Some of these cracks are new, some have been here for a while. You can tell which are new and which aren't. I keep a lot of pictures hanging on my walls to hide a lot of them. There's so many more. If I took the pictures down you could see all of them."
Ceiling cracks stretch across the living room and down the walls on each side of the home. A distinctive dip in the floor of the home can be felt as feet move from the living room to the hallway and the back of the home. A bulge can be seen in the hallway floor as well as the walls themselves.
City officials ordered that McDonald leave the home several weeks ago, but the homeowner isn't interested in staying anywhere else.
"They paid for a hotel. I stayed in it the first night but I got up around 2 a.m. and came back. I tried staying with a friend, but I just can't," said McDonald.
"This is my home. I am not afraid. Not at all. It's all going to work out because I have a great trust in God. I'm not in this for any money. I want to make that very clear. I hate money."
McDonald believes that the sinking of the home has more to do with the wet summer.
"These past few months of rain have made it sink. I've heard the walls cracking a lot, especially those two weeks we had the four and five inches (of rain). It does wake me up at night, but I'm not afraid at all. I know it's just the ground settling," McDonald said.
She also said that her home, and several around it, were built over what once was a canal that was reportedly filled with oil barrels back in the 1940s when the homes were constructed.
White confirmed that the homes in the area were initially constructed in the 1940s and were not up to par as far as construction goes.
"Her house, those houses, were built in the '40s. The way they did it back then, if they did things the way I've been told, is terrible. It's just awful.
"Some of these homes, how they were laid and built, should just be hung out to dry," White said.
White could not comment on whether or not the home is sinking due to a sinkhole.
"The insurance company is coming out. Geotechs are coming to inspect. I can't tell you whether or not it's a sinkhole, but the house is sinking," White said.
McDonald stated that the Allstate Insurance company will be visiting her home for inspection on Friday.
Just four homes down, Ray Leconey at 1516 Crescent Drive, is also experienced the same issues as McDonald. Leconey has lived in his home for just over 20 years. His parents owned the property before he acquired it.
Leconey's garage bulges and sidewalk is bulging and visibly uneven. The brick pillars holding up the home are buckling and sinking as well.
Leconey has contacted insurance company in the past, but stated his coverage was canceled when he tried to file a claim.
"They just dropped me. They said the house is cracking because of my trees," Leconey said.
The city hasn't visited Leconey's property for inspection as of Thursday.
Good grief... (by: D.J.Steward - 9/7/2013)
She heard the walls cracking a lot, especially those days where we had a lot of rain..."It's all going to work out because I have a great trust in God"...Well if she doesn't get out of that house she is going to be meeting him soon...
(by: Blindman~ - 9/6/2013)
This is heartbreaking because Snob Hollow is so full of history.
This is not new nor news (by: Demosthenes - 9/6/2013)
Good ol' Ray Leconey. Boy, you've known about this problem for some 15 years. You told it to me myself, to my face at least that long ago that your house is sinking. What's your angle? Reporters, do your homework!
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