Man's Home Demolished While He Was Out of Town, Officials Say It Was Dangerous

A Long Island resident says the home he and his family had lived in for decades was demolished while he was out of town for surgery.

Phil Williams says he lived in his home on Garden City Boulevard in Hempstead until last December, when he left to Florida for surgery. When he got back in the summer, the town had razed his home and all his possessions were gone.

“My wife and I live there,” Williams said. “Six children were raised there.”

Williams said all his bills were paid, but the town and neighbors said the home was a nuisance.

Hempstead officials said the home was in imminent danger of collapse and that it presented a danger to the public. Under a local law called Chapter 90, the town is allowed to demolish homes they deem to be dangerous.

The town said it followed normal procedure and notified Williams ahead of time.

Neighbors said they saw signs outside the home warning that it would be demolished.

“It looked as if the house had been abandoned,” neighbor George Manders said. “The town had notices on the door.”

Manders said the home looked like it could fall apart at any time.

Williams admits the home wasn’t in the best condition, but not to the point that it was dangerous.

“It needed some repair,” Williams said.

He said the home was still livable and that the possessions inside were priceless. Among those possessions: wedding rings and family jewelry.

“I don’t know that we could get any of the stuff back,” Williams said.

Hempstead officials said homes that are deemed unsafe are demolished under a monthly basis throughout Long Island.

Williams said he has hired an attorney and plans to sue the town.

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