Company confused the tornado-damaged home of a Texas woman with that of her neighbor’s, which was scheduled for demolition: ‘They took everything’
A demolition crew tore down the wrong house in north Texas, leaving two families who had hoped to rebuild their tornado-damaged home with nothing but a slab foundation.
“It’s like it happened again - like a tornado came through again,” said Lindsay Diaz, who owned one half of the two-family house on Calypso Drive in the city of Rowlett, about 25 miles northeast of Dallas.
The one story brick house had been severely damaged on 26 December, 2015, when violent tornados swept through north Texas, killing 13 people and causing about $50 million in damage to private homes in Rowlett, according to the Dallas Morning News.
But Diaz and her neighbors, who own the other half of the two-family home, decided to repair the structure, rather than sell or totally rebuild.
“I was underinsured,” Diaz said. “I didn’t have enough money to demolish and rebuild from the ground up. I had just enough to fix it.”
Diaz’s contractor was scheduled to submit a building permit to the city on 22 March, with the hope of completing the repairs by the end of the summer. But then she received a phone call from her neighbor while she was driving home from work at the Dallas Fort Worth airport.
“My neighbor called me. She was hysterical and crying. She said, ‘I hope you’re sitting down. Someone demolished the house by mistake’,” Diaz recalled. “I was so upset, and I was just hoping that it was a bad joke – that someone was messing with me. But I got there, and it was just a slab. They took everything.”
The mistake came about because the demolition crew - employed by Billy L Nabors Demolition, a 50-year-old business based in nearby Seagoville, Texas – went to the wrong address. They were supposed to demolish another tornado-damaged house one block away, on Cousteau Drive.
“The incident is under investigation,” said an employee of Billy L Nabors Demolition reached by phone. The employee declined to comment further, but according to local ABC affiliate WFAA, the company CEO George Gomez said that the mistake was “not a big deal.”
Perhaps not to him, but for Diaz, who has an eight-month-old child, the mixup is a huge blow. The crew threw away a water tank and water heater that she had hoped to salvage, as well as personal items – including her collection of antique Coca-Cola bottles – that she had been storing in the house. She expects that she’ll now have to battle Nabors’ insurance company, and start all over with her plans to rebuild.
“We’ve already been through a lot with the tornado, and now this,” she said. “Those guys ruined my life. They just demolished it.”
Watch WFAA's report on the incident below.