A five-bedroom house on the Outer Banks has collapsed into the Atlantic Ocean and parts of it are appearing on beaches up to 15 miles away, according to the National Park Service.
The growing debris field has created a safety hazard both on the beaches and in the water, officials said.
“Sections of the collapsed house and its associated debris were observed in the surfline and hundreds of feet from the surf,” Cape Hatteras National Seashore said in a Feb. 11 update.
“Surfers and sailors should exercise caution in these areas. Debris that washes up on the beach may contain sharp, exposed nails that could injure pedestrians and damage vehicle tires.
A photo shared by the park service shows the first floor of the two-story home at 24183 Ocean Drive was flattened during the collapse and timbers settled at the high tide line on the beaches. It had a market value of $328,900, according to Trulia.
Most of the debris is between the villages of Rodanthe and Salvo, the park said in a press release. The beach near the house has been closed, and short-term closures are expected to the south as cleanup efforts continue, officials said.
The rental house collapsed overnight and Cape Hatters National Seashore officials were notified around 7 a.m. on Wednesday, February 9. It was vacant at the time due to compromised piles.
Many beachfront homes along the Outer Banks are at risk of collapse due to erosion.
Park rangers are working with Dare County officials on a plan to remove what remains of the house and clear debris from the beaches, officials said.
WM Dunn Construction of Powells Point, North Carolina, was hired by the owner to remove what remains of the home and surrounding debris, officials said.
Trulia reports the home was 1,960 square feet and sat on 0.25 acres. It was built in 1980 as part of the Trade Winds Beaches community, the site reports.
The shorelines along the Outer Banks are known to be constantly shifting.
In 2020, Cape Lookout National Seashore (south of Cape Hatteras) reported that it would have to relocate a series of cabins in the Long Point area as the site was sinking into the ocean.
“Twenty years ago there was over 300 (feet) of beach and dunes between the huts and high tide. Today there is 48 (feet) of flat sand,” park officials said.
“Extreme tides are washing under the cabins and across the camp… The NPS is not looking to remove the cabins, but is looking for a better place to locate them that could last and is better protected.”
This story was originally published February 9, 2022 9:40 a.m.