Contractors assist homeowners after Gladstone tornadoes
by Curt Grandia
Midwest Contractor Magazine
June 23, 2003
Mother Nature can be downright destructive. And when she is, the same tools used for construction projects are called upon to clean up the mess. In Gladstone, Mo., just north of Kansas City, a May 4 tornado severely damaged scores of homes in the Carriage Hills area, some so severely that they could not be repaired. Instead, they had to be taken down and hauled away to make way for rebuilding to begin.
Chuck Cacioppo Jr. lives in “the Northland” and, as president of Industrial Wrecking Co. Inc., which specializes in -industrial, commercial and residential demolition, he is helping his neighbors put their lives back together.
“My father started the company in 1962 and I’ve been in the business for 30 years,” Cacioppo said. “I could see that some of the removal bids were too high. It’s a tragic thing to lose a house and everything in it and most of the homeowners are extremely upset. It’s hard on them and I don’t want to be a guy to go up there and try to take advantage of them or rip them off. We just want to give them a good price and clean up their properties so the builders can get them into their new homes and they can start living their lives again. We started with one house and now we’ve got more than 25. I’m getting more calls every day and I think the reason we’re getting more work up there is that we’re giving them a fair and reasonable price.”
On the majority of the homes, the crews are removing everything but the foundation and the sub-floor. They are using rubber-tired trackhoes to lift what’s left of the houses right off the foundation and load them into trucks to be hauled away.
Industrial Wrecking’s crews started work in the neighborhood on May 8 and, by the end of the month, had already completed nearly 20 homes, working for the homeowners or for the builders retained to replace the homes. With the growing number of homes to be done, Industrial Wrecking called on Greg Bair Trackhoe Services, Inc., of Overland Park, Kan., to help speed the work.
“Our normal work is anything that involves a trackhoe,” said Blair. “We’re mostly noted for breaking concrete with our hoe rams, and we also do digging jobs, stacked rock walls and 10-12 bridge demolitions a year. It’s no fun to be in there cleaning up someone’s destroyed life, but we have the right equipment and we just want to go in there and take care of them.”
Like the Industrial Wrecking crews, Bair’s busiest piece of equipment on the job is a rubber-tired trackhoe, a John Deere F595D with a grapple bucket. “We’re going in with the rubber-tired excavator to start the demolition and we’re loading our push-out trailers with it too.” Bair said. “Then we use the long reach machine to pull the walls over.”
Bair’s “long reach” machine is a Kobelco mark III SK200LC with a 50-foot boom. It is ideal for sitting in one spot to pull down the remains of two-story homes and to move the debris closer to the loading area for the rubber-tired trackhoe. “We want to work from one spot as much as possible so that we don’t tear up the landscaping or get tracks all over the yard,” bair said.
“We’re being very careful, trying not to do any more damage to the driveways, sidewalks, landscaping or anything else,” Cacioppo said. “Greg’s people have been fantastic and the extended hoe helps reach the two-stories and bring them down.”
Bair’s crew also has a Caterpillar 236 skid-steer loader on the job with a standard bucket and grapple bucket. “The debris is scattered so we have to clean the yards up quite a bit,” Bair said. “The skid steer is good for getting in-between and around the landscaping and other structures.”