The New York City program aimed at repairing Sandy-ravaged homes has left some residents wondering whether the work is happening too quickly after a Brooklyn home collapsed while undergoing construction Wednesday.
The city-financed Build It Back program was repairing that home on Beacon Court in Gerritsen Beach, raising the house high above flood levels. Now all that remains is a stack of plywood.
"There was a smoke cloud, like dust," said neighbor Diane Sullivan.
Sullivan is concerned the rebuilding program got out of hand, saying it's "just been chaos for months" at the site.
"No one is checking on them," she said.
But Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that wasn't true. He called the Beacon Court house "a concern" but reaffirmed his vow to get all Sandy-damaged homes rebuilt this year.
"We have to do it," he said. "It's the right thing to do."
Six thousand properties are getting rebuilt, with about half underway now, and the other hald slated to start later this year.
Project manager LiRo, which handles the rebuilding of more than 500 homes across the city, and contractor DSW, in charge of raising the homes, both referred NBC 4 New York back to City Hall when asked for comment.
A Build It Back spokesman in City Hall said work has halted at hundreds of houses until new inspections are done. But work was ongoing at a nearby house on Gerritsen Avenue Thursday, by the same contractor as the one working on the house that collapsed Wednesday.
City officials said the workers were simply reinforcing the structure.
No one was inside the Beacon Court house and the crew was on break at the time of the collapse, and no one was hurt, police said. Officials are investigating what caused the home to collapse.
Neighbors said a young family was excited to move back in in about a month, after having waited more than three years for work to begin on the home after they survived Sandy. It may now be months more before the family can move back in.