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sinking house

Amber Hansen says that when she hung her son's swing four weeks ago, she needed to use a footstool to reach the eyehooks on a joist, but that now she can reach them from standing on the ground.

After reading that their former home had mysteriously begun to crumble, a Longview couple reached out to the current homeowner and was shocked at the state of the house.

Robin and John Martin said they contacted Amber Hansen after reading in The Daily News on Saturday that Hansen’s house in the 2900 block of Colorado Street had started to tremble and buckle. They said they recognized the house they had rented from 2004 to 2008, and wanted to offer any information that might be helpful.

While walking around the house Tuesday, the Martins expressed shock at shifts in the 68-year-old house. Hansen pointed out where the walls of her home had separated from the foundation, how the tilt of the rear addition had gotten worse and where the roof had sagged. In addition, the sliding glass door is jammed shut and Hansen said she had to prop a 2-by-4 underneath a truss in the garage to support the buckling roof.

She can now touch part of a patio joist that she needed a step-stool to reach only a few months ago. John Martin also reached up and placed his full palm on the side of the joist.

“It used to be only my son that could reach this, and now I’ve got my whole hand on it,” he said.

Robin Martin said the most striking changes were that the sliding glass door had been forced out of its tread and the carpeted floor in a living room seemed to sink and creak.

“We had parties jam packed with 15 people in that room. If that floor was like that, we would have known,” she said.

The Martins said they rented the home until a collapsed sewer line on the property caused a water back-up at the end of 2008. They came home one day to a flooded laundry room, they said.

The landlord at the time brought in Roto-Rooter, which used cameras to find the collapsed section of sewer pipe, they said.

“As I understand it, the sewer pipes were squished like an egg carton,” Robin Martin said. “When it was flattened, nothing was getting through, so that’s why the water was backed up.”

She said they lived in the home for about a month but couldn’t use their toilet or the shower without the water backing up.

They heard that the sewer line had been fixed after they moved out of the home in November 2008, but they didn’t know what repairs had been done.

Amber Hansen bought the home and moved in with her three boys in 2014. She said she hadn’t heard about any of the sewer problems before speaking with the Martins.

“We only got involved because we had knowledge of the sewer lines,” Robin Martin said. “I have compassion for people. If we have information that will help her, we want to help her resolve what’s going on.”

It is unclear if the sewer collapse a decade ago is related to the house’s recent structural problems. Hansen’s insurance company has declined to cover the damage, saying it was due to faulty construction.

“This is so sad,” Robin Martin said to Hansen. “You think you have a good deal and a good home for your kids, then you lose it all.”

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