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Associated Press, Published January 18 2012

Minot begins flood-damaged house demolitions

MINOT, N.D. — Demolition crews hired by the city of Minot have begun tearing down homes left unsalvageable by last spring's widespread flooding.

Magnum Demolition, a Boise, Idaho-based company, had one crew working Tuesday and will add a second to remove houses that were so severely damaged by last year's Souris River flooding that their owners have chosen not to renovate. The historic flooding caused by excessive spring snowmelt runoff and rain damaged more than 4,000 homes and businesses in North Dakota's fourth-largest city.

About 50 houses remain on the city's demolition list, from the original 104 identified for removal by First District Health Unit, the Minot Daily News reported Wednesday. Homeowners could ask to be removed from the list if they decided to renovate or could hire their own contractors to handle demolitions.

The city and a consultant are seeking funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the demolitions, which are costing the city about $15,500 per house.

"They are hazardous and they need to come down," consultant Nancy Whitten said.

The city has authorized Magnum to remove 10 houses for now. The first, a rental home owned by Michael Monson for nearly a quarter century, came down Tuesday.

"It's kind of a turning of the page on a chapter in your life," Monson said after watching some of the demolition.

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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.