Article No: 127

2006-05-02 13:04:18
Homeowner credits ICF wall with saving his life from accident, house from Charley
By: Concrete Homes


Photography courtesy of American Polysteel

You'll have to forgive Ray Demczyk of Cape Coral, Fla. if he keeps looking around to see if there's something stalking him. First a car plowed into his house at 90 mph, and then Hurricane Charley blew through his neighborhood with winds gusting to 165 mph, sucking the roofs off of several of his neighbor's homes.

But Demczyk says he believes his bedroom insulating concrete form wall saved his life.

In June, as Demczyk and his wife quietly slept inside their home built in 1997 from American Polysteel ICFs, an intoxicated driver was speeding down the Demczyk's neighborhood street at about 90 miles per hour. Police say the driver left the street and his car became airborne and crashed into the exterior of Denczyk's bedroom wall.

The Polysteel wall's sound class rating of 48 offered the sleeping Demczyks no clue of the accident. Awakened by what she described as a "light thud," Mrs. Demczyk got up to see what might have fallen in the house and was surprised to see headlights in her yard.

The driver was not injured, but his car completely lost the battle with the ICF wall and was totaled. Damage to the house was limited to a 3-foot by 5-foot section of the wall's exterior stucco finish. The wall itself was not damaged. It should cost less than $800 to complete repairs to the stucco finish.

Demczyk said emergency workers on the scene said that the speeding vehicle would have gone through the wall if it had been wood-frame.

Polysteel distributor Ed Easter was involved with the construction of the Demczyk home. The 5,800-square-foot, two-story stucco home was constructed in 1997 at a cost of $496,000.

So when Hurricane Charley threatened the same home with 145- to 165-mph wind gusts two months later, Demczyk barely blinked an eye as the raging storm passed through his Florida neighborhood.

The Demczyks told Easter that they were one of very few families in the neighborhood to stay with their property. As neighbors prepared to evacuate, one commented, "I suppose you're staying since your house is so safe?"

"Yes, I did stay in my home during the hurricane," Demczyk said. "I know my house is superior in strength to other homes."

A section of the swimming pool screen was ripped from its concrete foundation, and a few tiles were blown off the roof. Demczyk attributes the durability of his roof to the trusses used that were designed to withstand winds of 140 mph.

"Large hardwood trees and palm trees on our property were completely uprooted or snapped in half, yet the main house was completely unharmed," he said. Due to Polysteel wall's sound class rating, the family heard very little noise from the storm, just as they were barely aware of the car crashing into their home. "We knew the wind was screaming outside and we could see major debris flying through the air, but inside the house remained quiet."

The full fury of Hurricane Charley seemed to have hit just north of Cape Coral in Punta Gorda, Fla.

Demczyk was not surprised that there was so little damage to his home in either assault.

"I have known that this house was solid since the day I built it," he said. "Strength, wind resistance, and insulation are the reasons I chose Polysteel."