Homeowners come forward about crumbling foundations - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Homeowners come forward about crumbling foundations

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HAMPDEN COUNTY, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

Western Mass News has uncovered information about crumbling foundations reported in Hampden County.

Back in 2016, Connecticut's Attorney General investigated the company Joseph J. Mottes following hundreds of consumer complaints about crumbling concrete in eastern Connecticut homes.

Now, homeowners in Massachusetts are coming forward about their very own collapsing foundations.

The findings of the Connecticut Attorney General's investigation included that a mineral called pyrrhotite must be present for foundation to deteriorate in the way it has.
 
Becker's Quarry in Connecticut.,which was the main source of concrete for J.J. Mottes, included more than trace amounts of pyrrhotite.

For homeowners in Connecticut that have an engineer's report telling them they have a deteriorating foundation, they can request that their town re-assess home value.

Brimfield homeowner William Abusamra noticed his foundation was cracking on the outside, then he saw the walls chipping away in his basement. 
 
"If somebody has their basement finished, and they don't see the wall, they're not gonna know,"
 said Abusamra. 
 
It was the same for a family in Longmeadow.

If it weren't for a flood in their basement, they may never have known what was going on behind their formerly finished walls.
 
"After I talked to the engineer, he said that looks like what's going on in Connecticut," said Longmeadow resident Russell Dupere. 

[READ MORE:Longmeadow family concerned over crumbling foundation]
 
Heidi and Lee Hamer of Wales built their house in 1994. 

Inside their old photo albums has pictures of a Joseph J. Mottes truck pouring concrete in the background.

The company has since gone out of business following hundreds of consumer complaints in Connecticut and a statewide investigation.

"It went out of business but their liability policy is still there," said David Matthews with Sullivan Keating & Moran Insurance Agency. 

"We're kind of between a rock and a hard place but we're just gonna stay here as long as we can and hope we don't end up in the basement one morning," Said Hamer. 
 
The Hamer family told Western Mass News they encourage more people to come forward.
 
"The more people that can get on board, we can become a bigger voice and maybe join forces with Connecticut and get some federal assistance," they added. 
 
The possibility of that isn't too far off.

"Whether it's a FEMA designation or some sort of federal assistance, I think that that needs to be part of the equation," said Senator Eric Lesser. 
 
Senator Lesser has been at the forefront of this issue which now under investigation by the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office.

Senator Lesser told Western Mass News that throughout the Baystate there are likely hundreds of residential foundations that are deteriorating.
 
"I've already begun to hear from other legislatures, other state senators, other representatives in communities around us who have had constituents come forward to them so there is power in numbers," he said. 
 
Lesser noted as more people get their homes tested, cities and towns will see financial implications.

Many of the homes with this concrete were built in the late 80s through the early 2000s. 

Local insurance agent David Mathews told Western Mass News if homeowners can find the liability policy from their contractor, the insurance agency would be responsible.

"I'd like to see somebody cover it. I mean, this is a big undertaking," said Matthews. 

What Mathews said about the liability policy sounded like a quick fix but homeowners say it's not black and white.

Nearly 20 years later, some of them have misplaced pieces of their paperwork and others worry about a statute of limitations on their policies.

If you think you may have also been affected, contact Western Mass News by emailing us at tips@westernmassnews.com

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

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