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Problems surrounding alleged construction malpractice are popping up in Hideaway Hills

Published: Apr. 10, 2021 at 5:53 PM MDT
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BLACK HAWK, S.D. (KEVN) - A metal detector is supposed to beep when it comes across certain objects, but silence is the sound it’s making in more than fifty Hideaway Hills homes and driveways.

“Homeowners have been complaining about the doors not shutting or windows not shutting straight anymore or humps in their basement floor and they’ve been attributing much of that to mining activity and their fear about voids, but we’re finding much of it appears to be explainable with mere construction malpractice and negligence,” says chief scientist for Kipuk Consulting Patrick Ealy.

James Kusick, who operates his own construction company, and his wife, Heather, are one of those homeowners. They have noticed a heave in their basement floor and a sinking sidewalk.

“Well it wasn’t tied properly to the driveway, therefore you know it’s caused a big trip hazard,” says James. “We’ve had people bring packages here and I’ve watched them trip on it and I feel bad. So something needs to be done about that from an aspect of somebody getting hurt, but it should have been tied together with some rebar or at least a wire mesh of some kind.”

And these alleged mal-practices are seen throughout the neighborhood.

If you look where the mine collapsed one thing seems to be missing, support in the sidewalk. But, looking at a nearby collapsed driveway you notice the rebar is doing its job.

And the families owning homes here are still looking for answers.

“I think lives depend on it if not at least your livelihood, you know these are families homes,” says Heather. “Even though we’ve been here for a short amount of time some people have some children and this is all they’ve known. Well and the financial burden that could put on some families that could be pretty catastrophic.”

Ealy says in May, Montana Tech is scheduled to do tests hoping to find answers for many of the community’s questions.

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