Imagine if you will, a pleasant summer morning. You are out on your front porch getting details in order for the upcoming family reunion, to be held at the home that your father built back in the 50’s, just a few miles from where you now live. The home, though not currently occupied, remains a frequent place for family and close friends to stay and contains some of your family’s most precious heirlooms. Sipping on your coffee, the phone rings.
“Yes, are you the owner of 11 Byrd Trail in Corrollton?”
“Why, yes, that was the home my father built. The home I grew up in. Who is this?”
“This is Larry Watts of Southern Environmental Services. I’m afraid there has been a mistake. That home was demolished yesterday.”
Al Byrd, of Carrollton, Georgia received what must have been a similar call last week, to be alerted to the fact that the house his father built; the house that still remained in the family was accidentally reduced to rubble along with everything inside. According to the local ABC News affiliate, “An Austin-based realty company, Forestar Group Inc., had contracted the demolition of a vacant one-story house at 3050 Highway 16 South, about 150 yards from Byrd’s house and on the opposite side of the road.”
I can’t even imagine how pissed I would be if that happened to me. How in the HELL does something like that happen???! Apparently, as ABC’s Sarah Netter reported, “Larry Watts told Byrd that “the crew that actually did the demolition had picked Byrd’s house to destroy based on GPS coordinates.” At this point, if I was Al Byrd, I would have just lost it. So tell me Larry, I’d say, when was the last time you identified which house was your friend’s house by using GPS coordinates? There are useful resources now-a-days for finding the precise home you’re looking, and they are much more reliable than Global Positioning Systems. They are called ADDRESSES!
Supposedly, the CFO of Forestar, Chris Nines told ABCNews.com that “his company gave Southern Environmental Services color photos and an address to work from and that he has no idea how they allegedly got GPS coordinates.” He then went on to say, “Certainly, we’re not happy about it and feel bad for Mr. Byrd.” Geee, that was nice of him to say. YOU JUST DESTROYED HIS HOUSE! I mean, there was NOTHING left. One would think, that before you level a house, you’d at least have a quick peak inside, make sure there was nothing in there. One look inside and this wouldn’t have happened. And what about when the demolition began?! No one noticed that there was furniture and pictures being shattered and thrown about like shrapnel? It is infuriating to learn of such reckless irresponsibility. Byrd has obviously hired an attorney and compensation has yet to be determined. I think compensation should start with all the people involved lining up on the street so Al can slap them across the face one by one.
Unfortunately for all of us, accidents involving contractors are not that uncommon. Especially in a market that is inundated with foreclosures. Team Aguilar had one instance where they were helping a couple do a short sale on their home. As we all know, short sales take a long time and after a couple months of waiting, the couple had a knock at the door. There was a man saying that he had just bought their home at a foreclosure auction and he wanted to begin fixing the roof that week. The couple were so taken aback by this man’s certainty that he now owned their home that they believed him. They thought that somewhere along the line, the short sale wasn’t working and the bank foreclosed and just didn’t tell them. So they called Team Aguilar and due to the regular lack of communication between banks, asset managers, and real estate agents, even Team Aguilar wasn’t certain that the home hadn’t gone into foreclosure without their knowing. As it turns out, the guy who claimed he’d bought the home at the auction, had bought a similar home across the street. It’s scary to think that the couple were ready to move out of their home, and this guy was going to tear off their roof.
Thankfully, this accident was averted. But there is a responsibility we all have to keep an eye out for things going on in our neighborhoods. It is not nosey or uncalled for if you go inquire about what’s going on when you see some sort of construction going on, or ESPECIALLY if you see a demolition being prepped. Go over and check it out. Find out what’s going on, and if anything is a little fishy, don’t hesitate for one second to call the city and inquire. Every big job requires permits and the city will be able to tell you if permits were issued. If you’re a resident of San Diego and want to inquire about a project going on in your neighborhood, call the Neighborhood Code Compliance Department at (619) 236-5500. Don’t let someone’s home get accidentally destroyed just because a bunch of idiots have GPS and some bulldozers.
By Andrew Brentan