Moline couple picking up the pieces after ceiling collapses without warning

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 12:17 AM CDT
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MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - A Moline couple is cleaning up on Monday after their ceiling collapsed, seemingly out of nowhere.

The Gullettes were drinking coffee and reading the paper, just relaxing in their dining room early Sunday morning. About 10 minutes after getting up to start their day, they heard a crash and were met with a living room filled with sheetrock and insulation.

“It’s shocking. You walk out in the hall and see this devastation and it looks like a bomb went off,” Ken Gullette said. “I just walked down the hall and said, ‘Nancy, we have a problem.’ and we came back out were just stunned looking at the situation.”

According to the homeowners, there was no sign of water damage or sagging in the days leading up to the incident.

When they called their insurance company, State Farm, to start a claim, they found out their insurance policy might not pay out.

The company told them since the sheetrock in the ceiling was put up with nails not screws, they couldn’t be covered.

Ken’s wife, Nancy Gullette, said they’re frustrated as there is no way to inspect or check what kind of fasteners were used ahead of time.

“All the nail heads are covered,” Nancy said. “They’re plastered over or mudded over, to not be seen.”

The house was built in the 1970s. Ken said that using nails to fasten sheetrock was not necessarily known as bad practice at the time.

“You would think if this had been a problem in the 70s construction, someone along the line, either the realtors, or the insurance people, or the inspection, people would have a little warning there and say ‘Well you may need extra insurance.’”

The Gullettes were finishing up renovations to their kitchen, awaiting a new stove and fridge this week. Those plans now derailed with clean-up. They want to spread the word about the collapse so other homeowners can be aware.

“Who would expect their ceiling to fall in? We sure didn’t,” Ken said. “You’re supposed to be safe in your home. and the ceiling falls in … it’s really a tragedy.”

Despite the nightmare, the situation has caused them; Ken couldn’t help but crack a joke, one that Nancy would groan at.

“Well, you know if anyone asks how we can afford this house, I just tell them ‘It’s all overhead’,” Ken said.

No word yet on how much the price tag is on clean-up and repair. The couple said they are waiting on an adjuster and professional clean-up crew to come and assess everything.

State Farm didn’t immediately respond to TV6 News’ request for comment.

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