October 23, 2008

A neighborhood house bites the dust, with a lot of dust

SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - Between grading papers and dreaming of Mexico, the Admiral and I try to get plenty of exercise by walking, riding our bikes and heading to the Capital Athletic Club where the Admiral and I go almost every day for swimming and to work on the machines.

(OK. I don't go on the machines at all, but I do try to get in a quarter-mile of thrashing through the water. And, no, I missed today, but...)

In my walk this afternoon (to make up for skipping my swim), I ran across a house (506 S Street) a block away that was being torn down, a 100-plus year old casa that had been taken over by some local homeless people. For California, the demolition guys were pretty casual with only a couple of sawhorses out front warning people from getting too close.

Neighbors parley about demolition
Neighbors chat with demolition man

Across the street, two city building inspectors talked about what a wreck the house had been and, for a moment, wondered aloud if they had made sure the natural gas line to the place was turned off. (Uh-oh!)

When I heard that, I moved back a few feet.

The house could not be rehabilitated, they said, it's foundation was virtually none existent and dry-rot filled the beams and walls downstairs.

Putting water on the house
Worker sprays water to hold down the dust

Jaws munch the house
Jaws take a bite out of the house

The demolition drew quite a few sidewalk superintendents - me included, of course - who hung around for nearly an hour, waiting for the big bang and crash when the last of the place hit the ground. The company was very careful as it worked - the derelict house was less than 10 feet from an apartment house on its west side.

But we were not disappointed in the finale.

Here's a short video the event.

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