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This family owns one of few homes still standing in this Florida town after Hurricane Michael


MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (WTVC) — This family's home made it on the front page of the New York Times on Monday. Why? It survived Hurricane Michael.

The family says they call their home the Sand Palace, and that they specifically built it with storms like Michael in mind.

Video from the Coast Guard shows the Sand Palace among debris in Mexico Beach Florida.

Heather Lackey's family finished building the house about five months ago.

"We wanted to make sure that it would hopefully withstand a very big storm," she said.

It did. Her family watched footage from their security camera as the storm came through.

"You could see the wind. You could see debris flying by. You could tell that the roof was kind of shaking like an airplane wing would be," she said. "I think there are lessons that can be taken from that for new construction homes."

So does FEMA.

One of their employees addressed the media last week saying, "I hope that the country won't forget and that when you go back to rebuild these areas that you do so in a resilient fashion and we don't rebuild to the same standards."

Lackey says her family went above and beyond building requirements for the area and even the recommendations from engineers

"We are very grateful for the things that we did to add to the structure," she said.

Lackey says it did cost significantly more money to build the home they way they did.

Now, her husband and her uncle are at their vacation oasis, surveying the damage around it.

"LeBron said that it was unimaginable. There are no words to describe the destruction that occurred there."

She says there's a little damage on the outside of it.

For example, the stairs blew away. But, Lackey says they were designed to, so that they wouldn't rip off any more of the house.

Lackey told us about a few things she believes helped the house make it through the storm:
It was built with thicker concrete walls.
She says her family put in special windows made to last in a hurricane.
They also put the foundation 40 feet down in the ground instead of the recommended 30 feet.

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