HAMLET — Workers began demolishing a suspected drug den and flophouse at 201 Monroe Ave. on Monday, after stripping out floors containing asbestos. As they worked, neighbors walking by cheered them on.
When Joey Bostick and Mark Maynor — of Affordable Septic and J&M Grading, respectively — showed up with their excavator and dump truck early in the morning, they found what they assumed was drug paraphernalia in the front room.
“When we walked in it earlier,” Maynor said, “they’d been making meth,” short for methamphetamine. The men said they found baking soda, copper tubing and empty pseudoephedrine boxes.
The drug-making detritus was only one reason Hamlet City Council voted last August to tear down the house, which sits a block east of Monroe Avenue Elementary School. The house also was rumored to be the hideout of a summertime shooting victim.
City officials inspecting the house in September 2016 found it to be a nuisance — a draw for druggies and the homeless. But it wasn’t until August — after a failed attempt to reach the owner — that the city gave the OK to tear down the house.
On Monday, workers removed asbestos tiles and took them to the Anson County dump, which has asbestos-remediation capabilities that Richmond County does not. And then Bostick and Maynor went at it.
Bostick operated the excavator, first stripping the house of its porch and front siding. As his demolition moved farther into the structure, clouds of dust puffed out the front door and shredded siding littered the yard.
Then Maynor attached a “thumb” to the front of the excavator, near its bucket, so the men could pick up the debris and drop it into the truck.
“We’re going to tear it up as we go,” Bostick said. “Then we won’t leave so much of a mess.”
He estimated the tearing down and carting off of debris would be finished by this afternoon.
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673.