Wednesday, February 28, 2024

In Pictures and Words: “Drywall pirates” gutted homes on Bald Head Island after Florence

In the weeks after Hurricane Florence, out-of-state contractors allegedly played on the "sympathies and fears" of mainly out-of-state homeowners, who were often not present to deal with mold remediation.

Dumpsters still overfilled with debris were seen outside homes along South Bald Head Wynd. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Dumpsters still overfilled with debris were seen outside homes along South Bald Head Wynd. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — When Hurricane Florence slowly passed by Bald Head Island, it brought winds and surge levels far less damaging than what was expected just days earlier.

But no other hurricane in recent memory brought such a consistent onslaught of wind-blown rain, and as it moved south, homes with exterior damage along the island’s southern beach were drenched – and remained so for weeks.

Some who returned to the island after the storm allege that these conditions proved fertile ground for predator business practices.

“A lot of the damage along this area was because of the homes sitting and just incubating mold, and that’s where the real problem surfaced,” local realtor and hotel owner Rod Hyson said. “Then these companies – storm chasers we call them – came in and started just tearing homes apart, playing on people’s sympathies and fears. Big national companies came in and just gutted a lot of these homes.”

Related: In Pictures and Words: Bringing back North Carolina oysters after Hurricane Florence

Wilmington contractor John Buechele had another name for them.

“Dry wall pirates,” Buechele said. “They’ve come in and torn out way more than they ever should have – where they’ve gone in and totally gutted houses.”

Read the full story (with photos) of what happened to many homeowners in the anxious weeks and months after the storm:

Bald Head's Drywall Pirates

Related Articles