Debris from collapsed house found along 20-plus miles of Hatteras Island beaches

Debris from collapsed house found along 20-plus miles of Hatteras Island beaches

March 15th, 2023

Debris from an oceanfront house that collapsed Monday morning in Rodanthe has spread along miles of Hatteras Island beaches, as the National Park Service responds to the fourth similar incident in the last 13 months.

The one-story house at 23228 East Point Drive collapsed around midday Monday, and had nearly disintegrated by early Tuesday.

NPS employees are taking proactive clean up measures to protect Cape Hatteras National Seashore natural resources and help ensure the safety of visitors, according to a news release.

Almost all the house debris has washed away from the property and spread to the north and south, with varying levels spotted between the north end of Rodanthe and the south end of Avon, approximately 21 miles away.

A National Park Service employee loads a 4×4 into the back of a truck on March 14, 2023. [NPS photo]
On Thursday, March 16, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the public is invited to help National Park Service staff at Cape Hatteras National Seashore to clean up some of the debris associated with the collapse.

Volunteer are asked to gather at Dare County’s Rodanthe Public Beach Access, 23732 N.C. Highway 12, Rodanthe.

Supplies will be provided for this organized effort to help National Park Service staff clean up small debris. Much of the wood pieces that have washed up on the beach have exposed nails, so all volunteers are encouraged to wear thick-soled footwear. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Individuals who plan to clean the beach either before or after these events should place garbage bags and debris well above the high tide line to ensure the items don’t get washed back into the ocean.

Beach Cleanup Updates – March 15, 2023

On Wednesday, March 15, over 40 National Park Service employees participated in a large-scale cleanup effort using pickup trucks, front-end loaders, dump trucks and dumpsters, resulting in 42 truckloads of debris being removed from the beach.

National Park Service employees will return to the beach Thursday for continued cleanup efforts and to coordinate volunteer support.

Beach debris cleanup photos are available on the Seashore’s Flickr page.

National Park Service employees transfer debris from the back of a truck onto a debris collection pile in the off-road vehicle ramp 23 parking area.

National Park Service employees transfer debris from the back of a truck onto a debris collection pile in the off-road vehicle ramp 23 parking area. [NPS Photo]

The Park Service said they communicated last March with the owners of this house and others properties that are threatened with collapse by the encroaching Atlantic Ocean, recommending actions to mitigate threats.

The one-story structure was built in 1976, and had three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms, according to Dare County tax records. The owner of the house had not developed a plan to clean up the debris as of Tuesday, the Park Service stated.

This is the fourth oceanfront home in Rodanthe to collapse in a little over a year. On May 10, 2022, two unoccupied homes on Ocean Drive, approximately 1.5 miles south of East Point 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, resulting in a large debris field along the northern Hatteras Island shoreline.

Park employees will continue to clean up debris, and there may be formal volunteer cleanup opportunities once ocean conditions improve.

Multiple meetings have been held in the past year regarding these home collapses, and the other homes in danger along the oceanfront.

In August 2022, National Parks of Eastern N.C. Superintendent David Hallac provided updates on the problematic homes in Rodanthe, as well as the ongoing clean-up efforts following the February and May 2022 collapses.

In January 2023, Dare County officials hosted a public meeting on the likelihood of a Rodanthe beach nourishment project, where County Manager Bobby Outten presented an overview of the logistics and funding models that made previous beach nourishment projects possible in the past, and explained why a Rodanthe project was more of a challenge, due mainly to funding concerns.

Most recently, the topic was discussed by the Threatened Oceanfront Interagency Work Group, which met virtually on Feb. 27, 2023. The group was formed in August 2022 to identify, research, and recommend ways to establish a coordinated approach to erosion-threatened structures, and includes representatives from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Coastal Management and the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The elevated surf which contributed to Monday’s home collapse is expected to continue through the middle of the week, with large breaking waves of 5 to 9 feet in the surf zone, (especially north of Cape Hatteras), and widespread wind gusts of 35-40 mph. For more information on the local forecast and current advisories, click here or visit

The Island Free Press contributed to this report.

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