Neighbors say damaged house a hazard
Roof collapse in February left a mess
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When Carl Hamel’s Henniker home was flattened after the roof collapsed under the weight of more than 20 inches of snow, it was late-February.
Now, the town of Henniker is taking action to make sure the property at 177 Tanglewood Drive gets cleaned up by next winter after neighbors raised safety concerns about the home’s condition.
As it stands now, windows, chairs and debris line the driveway to the home, where insulation protrudes out from a space between the first floor and the roof.
At a meeting last week, the Henniker Board of Selectmen set a Sept. 30 deadline for Hamel to remove everything from the lot and voted that he must give regular progress updates at future board meetings.
Since the house collapsed, Hamel, 66, said at the meeting he has been working mostly alone to salvage the remaining value from the property before he demolishes the structure because he doesn’t have the money to pay a contractor. He spent $150,000 updating the house with new windows and a replaced roof before it collapsed in February, he said.
“I agree with a lot of people who are upset with the house the way it is,” Hamel said. “I continue to work on the house every day . . . it takes time to do this.” Several neighbors attended the meeting, and the few who spoke said the house is a potential safety hazard.
“I am afraid kids are going to get in there,” said Chester Hathaway, who lives on Tanglewood Drive. The house has no fencing keeping onlookers out and the front yard has boards with nails sticking up, neighbors said. “I’m afraid of a child or someone getting hurt because it collapsed,” Hathaway said.
Hamel said at the meeting he hopes to hire more help to meet the September date. If he doesn’t meet the town’s deadline, Town Administrator Tom Yennerell said Henniker has the authority to issue an order that everything be removed from the lot.
“That would be the option that would be likely pursued if it is not cleaned up by then, or potentially before then,” Yennerell said after the meeting. “If we are seeing no progress, we may not wait until the 30th.”
Recently, Hamel built a second story on the home, he said.
That addition was never inspected by the town because Hamel said he stayed within a $5,000 project limit that triggers inspection, Yannerell said. For residential projects below the $5,000 threshold, the town doesn’t require a building permit. “The building inspector was not on the site,” Yannerell said. “The second floor . . . did not need to be inspected by the town.”
(Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.)