Flooded homes torn down in Cedar Rapids - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Flooded homes torn down in Cedar Rapids

KWWL (Cedar Rapids) - What once housed eastern Iowa families, are now piles of rubble. Dozens of Cedar Rapids homes deemed too unsafe to rebuild are being demolished. The more than 70 structures are marked with a purple placard.

Before a house came to the ground, Jim Dyer wanted one last look.

"One of my friends called me, and said you better go down and check your house out. It's gonna be torn down today," says Dyer.

Dyer spent most of his teens in this south east side Cedar Rapids home, more than 50 years ago.

"I remember how cold it was when I slept up in the attic, with no heat and I remember how warm it was in the summer when there was no air conditioning," says Dyer.

Tuesday he said goodbye before construction crews began demolishing it. The first of more than 70 Cedar Rapids homes deemed beyond repair.

"Right now it looks like a disaster and I think the best thing in the world is that they tear down all these houses and give Cedar Rapids a new face," said Dyer.

This process is about much more than just turning homes into rubble.

"Since nobody can enter the houses because they are unsafe, we have to assume that every structure has hazardous materials in it, even if they may not," said Loren Snell, constructing engineer.

That's why people like Michael Murphy perform air quality tests on each home as they're being torn down.

"We'll be monitoring the air for any dust emissions, asbestos emissions, anything that would result as part of the demolition," said Murphy.

Dyer admits it's sad to see his childhood home go, but recognizes this is a significant step for Cedar Rapids.

"I know 10 years from now we're gonna look different. It's gonna take time, but we're started, and we need to move forward," says Dyer.

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