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Florida beachfront home collapses amid rough weather

Home along stretch of coast heavily eroded by Hurricane Irma

A house along the coast in St. Johns County collapsed after substantial beach erosion. The area was heavily damaged by Hurricane Irama.
A house along the coast in St. Johns County collapsed after substantial beach erosion. The area was heavily damaged by Hurricane Irama. (St. Johns County Fire Rescue Department)

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – A portion of a beachfront house on South Ponte Vedra Beach Boulevard collapsed Wednesday after erosion washed away the sand dunes under the home, the St. Johns Fire Rescue Department said. 

The Ponte Vedra Beach home crumbled into the sand along a stretch of coast heavily eroded by Hurricane Irma.

The back half of the two-story house washed away, leaving rooms exposed to the elements. Inside one of those rooms, a TV could be seen still mounted on the wall.

Fire rescue crews said the house was unoccupied at the time, and no injuries were reported.

According to Fire Rescue, the house has been deemed unsafe. 

“It’s pretty devastating," said passer-by Zack Hutercherson. "I mean, you can look at a lot of the other houses, too, and just the magnitude of what two storms have done two years in a row is pretty amazing."

Lisa Rasch and her husband live down the street from the home, on South Ponte Vedra Drive. She told News 6 news partner WJXT-TV on Wednesday that she knew the high tide must have caused the damage after seeing large debris floating in the ocean.

“Then we saw something that we really couldn't identify at first, and it ended up being a bathtub," Rasch said. 

Many of the homes along the beach have sea walls protecting them from erosion and keeping the water from washing up from the shore.

It appeared the house on South Ponte Vedra Beach Boulevard did not have a sea wall.

Rasch said the sea wall in front of her home is the reason why her house is still standing.

“During the time that this was going on, we had water that was coming up through the sea wall, and over the sea wall," Rasch said. "So you can imagine if that sea wall wasn't there, what it’s doing to the foundation of the house.”

Many people along the beach are now trying to sell their homes after the damage caused by hurricanes Matthew and Irma. 

“I have to admit, after two storms, I’m a little storm-weary," Rasch said. "But I’m really hoping that we’ve had our 100-year storm, and we’ve had our 50-year storm, and we’re going to be good.”

For now, Rasch said, she's trying to stay positive that parts of her house won't end up floating in the ocean. 

SJCFR and Law Enforcement are on scene of a structural collapse of a coastal residential structure near the 2700 block...

Posted by St. Johns County Fire Rescue on Wednesday, January 3, 2018

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