Oceanfront home collapses overnight in Rodanthe

By on May 28, 2024

Photos by Brad Hanson for the Island Free Press
Photos by Brad Hanson for the Island Free Press
Photos by Brad Hanson for the Island Free Press
Dare County image of the home from April 2023
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Photos by Brad Hanson for the Island Free Press
Photos by Brad Hanson for the Island Free Press
Photos by Brad Hanson for the Island Free Press
Dare County image of the home from April 2023
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By Joy Crist | Island Free Press

An unoccupied home at the end of Ocean Drive in Rodanthe collapsed into the ocean at approximately 2:35 a.m. on Tuesday morning, May 28.

The home was built in 1970, and was a 1,728-square-foot residence with five bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. The home was uninhabitable and had not been occupied for at least two years, according to local residents, although it had formerly been in the Outer Beaches Realty vacation rental program.

The structure was located along an approximately .3-mile-long section of shoreline that has been subjected to erosion and periods of ocean overwash for the past several months.

The Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CHNS) issued a public advisory on May 16, urging visitors to avoid this small region of Rodanthe Beach near Ocean Drive due to exposed wires, septic systems, and other debris. The home had been leaning for at least a week, per area residents.

This is the fifth oceanfront home in Rodanthe to collapse in the past two years.

In March 2023, an adjacent oceanfront home collapsed at 23228 East Point Drive in Rodanthe.

On May 10, 2022, two unoccupied homes, also located on Ocean Drive, collapsed within a 12-hour period. 

In February 2022 and May 2020, two additional Rodanthe homes in the Ocean Drive vicinity also collapsed into the ocean. All of these home collapses resulted in a large debris field on Hatteras Island, which was addressed and cleaned up by the National Park Service, local volunteers, and/or contractors enlisted by the homeowners themselves.

The National Park Service will be working with the homeowner to address the clean-up efforts going forward. In the meantime, visitors throughout northern Hatteras Island are advised to use caution and to watch out for debris that may stem from this most recent Tuesday house collapse.

For more from Island Free Press visit islandfreepress.org.

SEE ALSO: Cape Hatteras National Seashore advises visitors to avoid the beach adjacent to Ocean Drive in Rodanthe


Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roong

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at mterrell@barnhillcontracting.com or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).



  • Wahoo

    Pathetic and gross.

    This is the worst coastal and environmental management possible. If elected officials can’t get proactive and in front of this, it should cost them their positions.

    It’s a predictable situation but allowed to happen. Time and time again. At our expense without a sensible strategy to remediate.

    Swim, surf, walk, shell, fish and boat with house, septic debris and pollution. Wow. When someone gets hurt or killed, it’s not Mother Nature. It’s negligence.

    Enough already. Tag and tear down proactively. There are ways.

    Tuesday, May 28 @ 10:15 am
  • surf123

    @Wahoo Houses have fallen into the ocean since at least the early 90’s in Rodanthe, though typically houses were relocated farther back on the same lot or an adjacent lot because the land was inexpensive and readily available. Additionally moving a house within a few hundred feet was not prohibitive. A few building booms from the 90’s through today have made it increasingly difficult to almost impossible due to the decreasing supply of vacant lots. Even if a lot is located it may not be possible to move the house due to overhead issues such power lines, which the power company most likely will not temporarily disconnect. The exception might be and historically significant home and most of those have been moved, never needed to be moved or have been torn down to make way for new construction .Another issue is the more modest older homes built in the 60’s – early 90’s may not be worth moving as it may cost more than the value of the home.

    There have been substantial storms in that time period that took houses by surprise, but more typical is death by a 1000 cuts which is what got this one. There has not been any substantial wave action in the last two weeks, but what little there was caused scouring which eventually undermined the house.

    There is no doubt those houses beyond repair or moving should be torn down, but there are at least 3 issues: Existing mortgage (bank has to agree and this house had a mortgage), difficult permitting (the ones for this home took several months to obtain at which time there was not enough sand left to reinforce the structure or tear it down. There was hope the typical Spring accretion would make it possible), inability to pay for teardown, and the inability to find someone willing to use their equipment in the surf. There are probably more. The park service purchased a few homes earlier this year which alleviated all of these issues.

    No one is going to get hurt or die unless stupidity sets in. The debris field will be gone within a few days though there will be some lumber left on the beach. Houses have fallen before and more will fall. Everyone will shoulder on as they have before. Unfortunately all of the meddling in the process has lead to the Park Service closing beaches, effectively preventing any scavenging for treasures.

    Tuesday, May 28 @ 3:30 pm
  • Charles

    Maybe move the buildings when they become uninhabitable. If there are not places where they can be placed back in service, demolish them in place before the ocean does the job. Seems demolishing and hauling off the material would be more cost effective than waiting on the ocean to demolish the building and scatter the remains over several miles of beach. But… who pays for the cleanup vs who would pay for the building to be demolished and hauled off.

    Tuesday, May 28 @ 6:43 pm
  • Steven

    Been happening for decades. Many dozens are gone. Large portions of neighborhoods, gone. Nothing new..

    Tuesday, May 28 @ 6:55 pm
  • Wahoo

    Continued excuses. Obviously it’s been happening since the start of waterfront dwellings. Obviously some homes have mortgages. Obviously it will continue to happen. All known, nobody disputing.

    So, don’t do anything? Wait until a contractor and the volunteers get applauded for cleaning up the predicted mess? No. Get in front of it.

    Homeowners are responsible for complying with requirements set forth by public officials. The elected officials and their organizations are responsible for creating and enforcing these requirements and creating a defined Process/Program.

    But it hasn’t happened. Eminent Domain is one of many tools that can be leveraged. I hope for a solution, not a repeat list of excuses. Once a home is identified as highest-risk (all previous homes have been predicted to fall) it needs to be taken down before it pollutes.

    Wednesday, May 29 @ 8:07 am
  • Daniel Kerlakian

    @Wahoo it is not that simple. The problem you have here is that these homes were all once on private property and over time, the park has swallowed more and more of the land up due to erosion and the federal property line essentially shifting west over time. Eminent domain can’t work here because the park would have to stipulate that these houses are not on federal land when they have claimed that the beach is part of the national seashore. The state has shown that they have no interest in Rodanthe or preserving the beach there and have deferred to the National Seashore to handle this issue. The solution as was mentioned above is to work with the homeowners and offer to purchase them for FMV. Let the homeowner ultimately make the decision on whether to take an offer – not eminent domain. This limits the threat of litigation over property rights which is the last thing the government wants. In the absence of beach nourishment, I believe that is what Hallac is doing and you will likely see more homes bought up and demolished in the future. I believe once the row of most vulnerable homes are gone, then you will see much more progress on preventative measures to protect the shoreline.

    Wednesday, May 29 @ 1:10 pm
  • Steven

    The Park does not own the beaches in front of villages, nor do they claim to. Only up to MHW, mean high water, or as most know it, high tide.

    Wednesday, May 29 @ 1:51 pm
  • Daniel Kerlakian

    @Steven many of these vulnerable houses are partly or mostly within the MHW or high tide.

    Thursday, May 30 @ 2:26 pm