News Release

After houses collapse, contractors, volunteers and National Park Service clean miles of beach at Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Three uniformed individuals work to offload collected wooden debris from white trucks.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore staff offload collected beach debris.

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News Release Date: May 17, 2022

Contact: Michael Barber, 252-270-5389

MANTEO, N.C. — After last week’s collapse of two unoccupied houses in Rodanthe, N.C., significant debris removal efforts are underway. Owners of the collapsed homes have contracted debris removal activities. Additionally, numerous volunteers and National Park Service employees, joined together to clean many miles of beach at Cape Hatteras National Seashore (Seashore).

Due to the extreme amounts of debris that continue to be discovered along approximately 15 miles of beach and to curb further spreading of debris and impacts, the Seashore has brought in the National Park Service’s Eastern Incident Management Team to assist with cleanup operations.

Visitors to the Seashore should use caution while visiting the beaches on Hatteras Island because wooden debris that contain exposed nails, wires, broken and exposed septic systems and other hazardous materials, continue to be present on beaches and in nearshore waters.

Two young beach cleanup volunteers stand near piles of collected debris.
Two volunteer beach cleanup event participants stand near piles of collected house debris.


Not long after two houses collapsed on May 10, the Seashore hosted eight separate volunteer beach cleanup events, resulting in 125 volunteers contributing 215 hours of official volunteer assistance. The Seashore is also aware that many additional hours were contributed by people outside of the hours of the organized beach cleanup events, especially by Hatteras Island residents who were able to travel to near the area of the collapses while N.C. Highway 12 was closed.

“It has been inspiring to see so many people help clean the beach in the days following the two house collapses,” said David Hallac, superintendent, National Parks of Eastern North Carolina. “All of them chose to assist Seashore staff and a contractor hired by the homeowners because they wanted to make their national seashore safe and enjoyable for all.

Volunteers and uniformed employees work to pile beach debris into a white pickup truck.
Volunteers and National Park Service staff work together to place collected debris into vehicle.
Large pile of house collapse debris near several houses.
Debris that was collected and later removed by a contractor hired by owners of collapsed houses.

Eastern Incident Management Team
Ten members of the Eastern Incident Management Team, comprised of National Park Service employees from North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Washington, D.C., arrived yesterday to provide cleanup support. The team, along with Seashore staff, is using front end loaders, dump trucks and other heavy equipment to move tons of debris that is littering Seashore beaches from Rodanthe to Avon.

Contractor Cleanup
W.M. Dunn Construction, LLC (Powells Point, N.C.) was hired by the owners of the collapsed houses at 24235 and 24265 Ocean Drive, Rodanthe, N.C., and has worked on cleaning up debris since the day after the collapses.

Next steps
In addition to monitoring and participating in extensive beach cleanup efforts, the Seashore will continue to communicate with owners of houses that the Seashore believes pose a risk to the Seashore and its visitors.

The beach adjacent to Ocean Drive in Rodanthe will remain closed until safety hazards are removed. Additional hazards, including exposed septic tanks and wiring, have been observed along the beaches in Rodanthe and Buxton.

Additional photos
Photos taken during beach debris cleanup operations are located on the Seashore’s Flickr page at

"Road Closed" sign in front of large piles of collected beach debris.
Debris staging area at off-road vehicle (ORV) ramp 23, located south of Salvo, N.C.
Large pile of collected beach debris, including a white toilet seat cover.
Large amount of collected beach debris at ORV ramp 23.
Large pile of collected beach debris near highway.
Debris staged for removal at ORV ramp 23.
Two pieces of heavy equipment work to load beach debris into green dumpsters.
National Park Service staff use heavy equipment to load dumpsters with beach debris at ORV ramp 23.

Last updated: May 17, 2022

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Cape Hatteras National Seashore
1401 National Park Drive

Manteo, NC 27954


252 473-2111

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