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Burlington neighbors think blasts from Amazon hub construction are damaging their homes

Posted at 12:39 AM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 01:22:29-05

BURLINGTON, Ky. — Richard Ison began to notice the tremors shaking his Limaburg Road home in September — “like an earthquake,” he said Monday night. “The house would shake for a few seconds every day at 1:50, like clockwork.”

His neighbors felt it, too. When he found new and widening cracks in his foundation, so did they. Ison’s fireplace pulled away from his house. A repairman estimated he would have to pay $20,000 for a complete fix; if he sells the home instead, he expects to lose 25% of its value in the process.

Ison said the cause of the sudden but rapid deterioration is obvious: Detonations at under-construction Amazon Air Hub nearby. He and over a dozen like-minded neighbors have begun to weigh the possibility of a class-action lawsuit against the construction company, which should — according to Kentucky building and insurance codes — only be detonating blasts with a 1,500-foot radius of impact.

“Obviously, it’s come a lot further than that,” he said. Ison and his neighbors live over a mile away.

If he’s correct, the construction company could be detonating several times the legal amount of explosives allowed at the site. Neither Amazon nor Burlington city officials have helped him find answers, he added.

“You call, they act like they want to help you,” he said. “Then they say, ‘There’s nothing we can do.’”

John Mura, a spokesman for the the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, said the cabinet was aware of Ison and his neighbors’ complaints. EEC officials plan to investigate seismographic readings compiled near the site to evaluate whether the company has been obeying the law when detonating explosives.

WCPO sent Mura the following list of additional questions but had not received a response by midnight:

  1. Are there currently regulations governing how strong of a blast construction companies are permitted to do during construction work?
  2. Have any state agencies conducted any tests during the blasting time period to ensure the construction companies are doing this to state standards? If so, when? What were the findings?
  3. How many blasts have occurred on this site?
  4. Is it possible for homes to have suffered damage from miles away from these blasts? We've had several reports of damage to homes as far as 2 miles away.
  5. Is there a penalty for construction companies blasting outside of the seismic regulations?
  6. Homeowners believe their homes have significant structural/foundation issues due to the blasting. What is the process for them to file a complaint?
  7. Who is held responsible for damage that occurs to properties due to blasting? Amazon? Construction companies? The state agency?