Sandy-ravaged houses torn down with help from FEMA

 Workers tear down Rich Hennion's home in Normandy Beach that was damaged beyond repair by Superstorm Sandy (Phil Gregory for NewsWorks).

Workers tear down Rich Hennion's home in Normandy Beach that was damaged beyond repair by Superstorm Sandy (Phil Gregory for NewsWorks).

Some of the Jersey Shore homes devastated by Superstorm Sandy are being demolished with the help of a government-funded program.

The Private Property Debris Removal Program allows municipalities to tear down homes that were damaged beyond repair by the storm, with FEMA picking up 90 percent of the cost.

Hundreds of houses in Brick Township and Toms River that now pose hazards will be removed.

Rich Hennion said it was hard to watch his house in Normandy Beach being demolished Wednesday.

“We’ve only been in house for four years, four summers, but the family loved it, my wife loved it, the kids loved it. It’s sad to watch this go, but it’s the first step in the rebuilding process,” he said. “So it’s actually a positive in some ways.”

Hennion says he plans to rebuild as soon as possible.

Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin says emergency orders signed by the governor make the permitting process easier as long as rebuilding complies with current building standards.

State officials say about 500 homes damaged in last October’s storm have been torn down so far, with an estimated 2,500 more to follow.

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