Seven years ago, NBC Connecticut Investigates found out hundreds of concrete basements were crumbling across our state.
Our team has been there every step of the way with homeowners and local leaders watching as they worked toward solutions, and so has Debbie MacCoy of Vernon.
She has advocated for homeowners in Connecticut, Massachusetts and around the globe to fix costly problems and get residents back safely into their homes. She's made it her life’s mission to make sure everyone is as educated about crumbling concrete as we are here in Connecticut.
MacCoy said, “I was shocked at how little Mass. knew, and I’m not shocked at how little Ireland knows,” …so much so, that she addressed part of the European Parliament about it this spring.
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“I was a little nervous, but I just, you know, spoke,” MacCoy said.
MacCoy gave parliament members suggestions about ways to tackle the scourge of defective concrete upending lives both here in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and on the other side of the Atlantic in Ireland.
Like Connecticut, Ireland has an expensive problem with iron sulfide minerals, causing concrete basements to crack, that insurance won’t cover. The minerals include pyrrhotite, the same one causing problems in New England.
One of the keys, according to MacCoy, is for Ireland to develop testing for the quarries where the stone in concrete comes from - something Connecticut has done.
“Without quarry standards limiting iron sulfide minerals. There will be more crumbling structures, more crumbling foundations, more crumbling blocks, all of which will cost consumers trillions of dollars," MacCoy said to European Parliament members.
Long before she lent a hand across the pond, and after she dealt with her own family’s crumbling concrete problems, MacCoy reached out to our neighbors in Massachusetts, discovering the same issues.
Michelle Loglisci of Monson, Mass., is a founding member of Massachusetts Residents Against Crumbling Concrete, and said she learned a lot from MacCoy.
“Of course, when I Googled the crumbling foundations, Connecticut came up their help was just, it was the lifeline I needed to keep going," Loglisci said.
Last month, MacCoy showed her group repairs to a Connecticut condo building where contractors were removing a defective basement, lifting up the structure and pouring new concrete.
“They have been incredibly supportive, I cannot tell you how helpful they've been,” Loglisci said.
MacCoy is among a group of a half dozen “Concrete Queens,” as they describe themselves. That along with Willington homeowner Tim Heim paved the way for Connecticut’s crumbling concrete remediation efforts to get going.
“I'm hoping and 20 years from now [in] Connecticut, all the affected homes will be fixed. And in Mass, they will be well under their way of fixing homes,” MacCoy said.
So far in Connecticut, hundreds of homes have already had their basements replaced, with many more to go. And MacCoy said we will have a lot of company soon, as the discovery of this problem spreads beyond our borders.