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WCPO 9 News asking who's to blame for homes, businesses damaged by blasting

Owners say they're outside the allowed radius
Posted at 11:37 PM, Feb 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-08 05:51:06-05

BURLINGTON, Ky. — Were homeowners and business owners given enough heads up about nearby blasting in Northern Kentucky?

That’s the question WCPO 9 News is asking the state agency responsible for investigating blasting companies on construction sites.

This week, we've aired several reports about issues surrounding the Amazon Air hub at CVG and an industrial park in Walton.

Homeowners and business owners shared the same story: Their homes and businesses are outside the blast radius but have incurred damage. And they were not informed of the blasting until it was too late.

“You’d feel everything shake,” said Don Jones, president of A&B Heating and Air Conditioning in Burlington. “The ground shaked. The foundation here … The building … You’d see things on your desk vibrate.”

Jones said blasting at nearby construction sites is costing him thousands in damages, despite the fact that his business is outside the blasting radius for the nearby Amazon Air hub.

“The insurance company basically told us that anything outside of the 1,500 square feet they’re not responsible for the damage,” Jones said.

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

Burlington homeowner Richard Ison lives nearly a mile away from the blasting zone but is in the same predicament.

“They said it should only reach about 1,500 feet, but obviously it’s come a lot further than that,” Ison said.

Ison said he noticed cracks in his foundation months ago but was never warned of the blasting.

“Nobody told us anything about it. We just started feeling the blasts and we found the damage,” Ison said. “You’d think they would let the homeowners know beforehand so they can go around and film the home and property.”

RELATED: Businesses, homeowners blame structural damage on Amazon hub construction blasting.

In Walton, Amanda Schadler’s home on Showalter Trace is 2,000 feet from the blasting site for the nearby Omaha Industrial Park.

“We were told 300 feet is the radius they check for houses,” Schadler said. “They didn’t make us aware when the blasting was going to start … didn’t tell us how many phases it was going to be at that point.”

Schadler said she documented the damage after the fact with dates of when the damage took place. But she added that not everyone in her neighborhood can do that.

“I have a lot of elderly neighbors who had no clue that this damage was going on,” Schadler said.

Homeowner Edna Harrison calls it “pretty frustrating.”

“I’m retired. I don’t have the money to repair all this stuff. It worries me,” Harrison said.

So here’s what you do if you own a home or a business near a blasting site:

  • Take pictures and video for evidence.
  • Document every nook and cranny of your home with time stamps.
  • Update the pictures as needed.
  • Save them on your hard drive.

“We were told it would cost $10,000 to $15,000 to bring an engineering firm in to confirm the damage,” said Jones. “By the time you spend that money, and hire an attorney, it may not be cost effective.”

John Mura, executive director of communication with the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, told WCPO 9 News that the Division of Mining Reclamation and Enforcement is not required to notify homeowners and business owners outside of the regulated blasting area.

We'll be following up with the state and talking with lawmakers to find out if a requirement should be on the books.

Mura also told us they will conduct a check of all blasting records from the Amazon and Walton construction sites next week. He said the agency inspects the records but does not take possession of them.

We've also asked if there's a lack of oversight in blasting records due to blasting companies self-reporting.

We’ll update you when we hear back.

RELATED: More NKY residents relate home damages to nearby blast sites.