Labelle-Fannett volunteer firefighter Fred Bridgewater looks up at the damage to his roof caused by a fallen tree due to high winds from Hurricane Ike.
Galveston, Texas (AP) Hundreds of people whose Texas beachfront homes were wrecked by Hurricane Ike may be barred from rebuilding.
And even those whose houses were spared could end up seeing them condemned by the state.
Worse, if these homeowners do lose their beachfront property, they may get nothing in compensation from the state.
The reason is a 1959 law known as the Texas open beaches act. under the law, the strip of beach between the average high-tide line and the average low-tide line is considered public property, and it is illegal to build anything there.
Over the years, the state has repeatedly invoked the law to seize houses in cases where a storm eroded a beach so badly that a home was suddenly sitting on public property. The aftermath of Ike could see the biggest such use of the law in Texas history.
Here's the saltwater in the wound: it could be a year before the state tells homeowners what they may or may not do.
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