No injuries were reported.
As of 5 p.m. Friday, workers were leveling the homes.
An excavator was brought to the scene at about 1 p.m. where the two-story home at 1 Locust St., at the corner of Willow Street, was being elevated. It fell for an undetermined reason, twisting on a 45-degree angle from where it had been located. It hit the brick ranch-style home next doo at 3 Locust St, which was abandoned. Another abandoned one-story frame house next door to it at 5 Locust St. also was demolished.Borough officials said that the homes at 3 and 5 Locust St.already had beenslated for demolition, officials said.
According to borough engineer Dale Leubner of T&M Associates, the home at 1 Locust St. is owned by Prince Gilpin and the firm contracted to do the house lifting was Hasenfus Construction Services of Long Branch.
The construction company could not be reached for comment Friday evening.
According to Mayor Frank Nolan, Gilpin’s home was only about two years old, had sustained damaged from Super Storm Sandy and had been repaired. The home’s foundation was heavily damaged and officials said it was too dangerous to let anyone inside to removed the owner’s personal belongings. The owner reportedly went on vacation so the building could be elevated.
According to Paul Vitale, the Highlands building inspector, more than a dozen houses in the borough had been elevated since Sandy and there have been no issues with those projects.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating.
Emergency crews from the Asbury Park heavy rescue team and Middletown and Highlands fire departments were on the scene along with personnel from the Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office and Naval Weapons Station Earle.