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House drops and crumbles, exposing asbestos

ASBESTOS RISK: The rental property still contains all the Harris family’s possessions. Photo: Trevor Veale
ASBESTOS RISK: The rental property still contains all the Harris family’s possessions. Photo: Trevor Veale

WITH his house collapsing around him, Woolgoolga resident Ron Harris thought he was experiencing an earthquake.

After making sure his 14-year-old son was safe, he fully expected to go outside and see destruction.

But to Mr Harris's surprise, his house was the only one affected. Heavy rain last week had drenched the ground, moving the piers and making the house drop more than a metre in seconds.

Making things even worse, Mr Harris was told he could not enter the structure to retrieve any possessions because asbestos had been exposed.

"It hit the deck in about five seconds flat. I heard a creak and then a rumble and the next minute it went bang to the ground," Mr Harris said.

"Some piers came up through the floor. I've got a massive big coffee table and it had completely flipped upside down and in its place I saw this bulge - it was one of the piers."

With the house his children grew up in gone, he will have to wait and see what can be salvaged, but he said the biggest losses were the Thumpster motorcycle his son spent a year saving for and a ride-on lawnmower he'd spent hours restoring.

The family has spent the first week couch-surfing with friends and have had some help from North Beaches Care, but Mr Harris will have to wait for structural engineers to finish assessing the house before knowing whether he can salvage anything.

Anyone who would like to help can email the Advocate on advocate@coffscoastadvocate.com.au.

Topics:  asbestos editors picks woolgoolga


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