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Paving equipment allegedly damages foundation

Fire station neighbor: Roller caused excessive vibrations
By Fran Gonzalez | Sep 28, 2018
Photo by: Fran Gonzalez Frank Fuschino looks over stones in his foundation that he says were moved by excessive vibrations caused by an asphalt roller-compactor when paving the new Searsmont fire station. Shown here Sept. 20.

Searsmont — The new Searsmont Fire Station is nearing completion, with the grounds prepped for grass and drainage, and the parking lot paved.

But not everyone is happy about the new building.

Frank Fuschino lives approximately 75 feet from the rear parking lot of the new structure and said his stone foundation was compromised during the work. He said the large asphalt roller-compactor caused severe vibrations while packing the aggregate forming the parking area, and he has noticed cracks, a broken pipe and duct work that has come apart, among other things, in his basement and along the exterior of his foundation.

Fuschino said he first noticed damage to his house Sept. 6. In the basement, he noticed cracks and a broken cast iron pipe. He said the pipe was next to a wooden beam and when the vibrations began, the pipe rubbed against the wood until it broke.

The following day, the paving contractor resumed working on the parking lot for about an hour, until a neighbor who stopped to visit Fuschino felt the vibrations on the front porch and alerted the Town Office. Work stopped immediately.

According to Fuschino, Searsmont First Selectman Bruce Brierly came to his house Sept. 10 and informed him that the contractor needed to resume work with the large piece of equipment to complete the parking lot.

Brierly confirmed Sept. 24 he spoke with Fuschino, said they were "almost done" and would be using the machine for one more day.

"We saw there was no other way to complete the job," Brierly said.

Waldo County Sheriff Jeffrey Trafton said Fuschino called Sept. 10 to share his concerns about the equipment potentially causing damage.

According to Deputy Josh Staple's report, cracks were evident and it looked like there was fresh damage to Fuschino's foundation. The deputy, according to the report, recommended Fuschino "seek an attorney."

Trafton, reviewing the report, said the problem appears to be a civil — as opposed to criminal — case involving the town of Searsmont and Fuschino.

"In this instance, we have no authority," Trafton said. "We were there to keep the peace."

Brierly said the parking lot is now complete and resolution is in the hands of the insurance companies. He said the next step for completing the new fire station is installing plantings along the property line.

Brierly said the town's insurer was involved "in the sense that they are aware" of the situation, but said the contractors' insurance companies would be responsible for the claim — Lucas Construction paved the lot and Brown Construction is the builder.

Kathleen Farnsworth, Fuschino's neighbor, said her husband felt the vibrations in their neighbor's basement. He told her there "was an effect" and "clearly there is a problem."

Fuschino has lived in the house since 2014 under a purchase arrangement with the owner. He said he is one payment away from having his "deed in hand" and is not exactly sure what his rights are, but said the insurance company representing the owner plans to send a structural engineer within the next two weeks to make an assessment on the claim.

"I've replaced the rafters and roof boards and roof, and installed new clapboards to the house," Fuschino said.

"Why would I do that if I would need to replace the foundation later?" he said. "I am not happy about this."

The back parking lot of the Searsmont fire station, after it was completed, shown here Sept. 20, is approximately 75 feet from Frank Fuschino's house. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Cracks in Frank Fuschino's basement, shown here Sept. 20, which he says were caused by excessive vibrations from an asphalt roller. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Brown dust shows recent damage according to Fuschino, caused by an asphalt roller. Shown here Sept. 20. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
(Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Duct work in Frank Fuschino's basement, shown here Sept. 10, has become undone by vibrations from an asphalt drum roller paving the Searsmont fire station parking lot. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Exterior foundation cracks that Fuschino says were caused by excessive vibrations from an asphalt drum paver, shown here Sept. 20. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
The new Searsmont fire station with completed parking lot sits approximately 75 feet from Frank Fuschino's house. Shown here Sept. 20. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
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