ENUMCLAW, Wash. — Brand-new houses in Enumclaw suffered serious damage from the storm last weekend. Video shows siding and shingles ripped off by the wind. It even started snowing inside some homes, where homeowners just moved in weeks ago.
But neighbors are blaming much more than just the weather. Multiple people told KIRO 7 that given the severity of the storm, it should not have caused such extensive damage throughout the new Suntop Farms neighborhood — built by LGI Homes.
“It was probably about midnight, 12:30 a.m., that you started seeing shingles really flying off, siding. I was just standing in my dining room window like, ‘Oh my God. Where am I, Kansas?” said Washington native Troy Runner, who just moved into his new Enumclaw home a month ago.
His neighbor, David Baldwin, shared a video that showed the snowstorms and some pieces of homes blowing across the neighborhood.
“This is insane, man! Shingles everywhere!” he shouts in the video.
“Watch out!” Baldwin shouts as a piece of his house nearly hits someone.
Another neighbor, Luke Talbert, has lived in the neighborhood for just over a year. His home was also damaged.
“I started hearing just ripping and tearing from my roof,” Talbert said. “I think that the construction should’ve been built to withstand a 50-60 mph gust we had,” Talbert said.
One private weather station in Enumclaw near the neighborhood recorded a 51.4 mph gust on Saturday at 12:53 a.m. but lost power shortly after, along with much of the area. Neighbors said, by that time, the damage had already started.
“You shouldn’t be seeing brand-new siding and shingles flying off on brand-new homes at that wind gust. It is windy, but this is an area known for wind,” Runner said.
In fact, many homes in the “Suntop Farms” Enumclaw neighborhood suffered similar damage. In just one area straightaway off the neighborhood, KIRO 7 counted seven damaged homes. Neighbors said there are dozens of others.
Cars were also damaged by flying shingles.
Other homes suffered damage less visible from the outside, such as leaks and water damage.
Runner is also dealing with water damage in his house.
“There was just buckets of water coming out,” he said. “It’s just coming from the ceiling; it’s just coming through the walls,” Runner said.
Homeowners said houses that are less than a year old are still under warranty from LGI Homes, but Runner is worried he’ll be on the hook.
“We got a call from LGI saying they weren’t going to honor the warranty — that it was an act of God. And to call our independent insurance company, which I didn’t want to do because that increases your rates and comes back on you,” Runner said.
KIRO 7’s Deedee Sun reached out to LGI’s corporate offices in Texas but, as of Wednesday evening, no one with LGI returned any calls or emails.
The company has a local office in the Suntop Farms neighborhood, and a manager there said he had “no comment” and directed Sun to the corporate Texas office.
Neighbors here are calling on LGI Homes to fix the problems.
“Just do the right thing,” Runner said. “You’re homes all across Washington. How hard is it to do what’s ethical?” he said.
LGI Homes is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau. Out of 44 reviews, the company has a 1.3/5 star rating and an “F” score.
According to the Enumclaw city code, residential buildings must meet the “climatic and geographic design criteria” for the city’s weather and be able to handle wind speeds of 120 mph. However, the criteria only apply to a building’s structure. Parts of a home, such as siding or shingles, are considered “accessories” and should meet weather standards specified by the manufacturer and be installed per the manufacturer’s instructions, but that’s not something the city signs off on.
Multiple neighbors also said they noticed the shingles that flew off into yards were not installed properly. KIRO 7 did not independently verify if that’s the case.