This happened to a man almost 10 years ago, while working for his father. His father’s company was tasked with demolishing houses, and the redditor was tapped to be a superintendent of the site while his father was away for vacation. It was to be two demolitions in three days. And shit just went wrong from there.
So this happened about ten years ago. My father owns a pretty large heavy construction company and every so often we are tasked with demolishing houses. My father won a public bid to demolish a few homes in a public; low income housing complex that were condemned by the city for disrepair. My dad goes to Florida in the winter and I become the superintendent of our sites for a few months. The day before he leaves he gives me the paperwork for this job. It’s in a rough neighborhood. And by rough I mean Berlin post-WWII rough. Oh well, seems like an easy enough job. Two house demos in three days.
The following day I load our machine on the lowboy, a PC-220 Komatsu excavator with a grapple, and drive over to the neighborhood. I call the recycling company before I get there to make sure they’ll have enough demolition trailers for the debris from both houses. Everything looks good and I tell my guys to meet me at the houses.
Once I arrive in the neighborhood I realize that the only thing I have to go by is the description of the homes on the contract because there are no house numbers and a community mailbox. I pull up to a “blue three story dwelling circumvented by a wooden porch” just like it says on my contract.
It’s important to know that for all other demos we usually go into the homes and take out all the copper for recycling. This contract stated that the housing authority has already recycled everything so there was no reason to enter the home. We only have three days so I get to work unloading the machine.
Once we are all set up its around 8am. People are bustling in the neighborhood; getting up and going to work for the day. I start by taking off the roof, load by load, everything is going smoothly. I load up the first truck with the debris until it is filled. The truck leaves and an empty one pulls up to replace it. I now start with the second floor. I see a dresser in my grapple. I think to myself “oh well the previous tenants must have left some furniture”. Next the grapple has a bed in it. Then a pile of clothes. Then a tv. At this point something seems fishy so I get off the machine and walk up to the side window of the half demolished house. I look inside and my heart sinks. There are pictures on walls, a fridge, dining room table and a typical family living room. This is the wrong house. Someone obviously lives here. I run to my truck and grab my phone, but before I can even call my dad the housing authority representative pulls up and judging by the look on his face this was absolutely positively the wrong house.
Long story short this home was also owned by the housing authority and the tenants were on vacation. We paid movers to take the remaining undamaged items from this half destroyed house to another (much nicer in my opinion). They set everything up as best as they could and we finished demolishing the house we had started. The worst part was no one had a mobile contact for the tenants. They arrived home a week later to the plot of land where their home once stood. In the end they got a sizable payout from the housing authority for not supervising the demo, which was stated in our contract. Dad didn’t talk to me for months.
He reveals later, in an edit, that the tenants were in their 70s and were quite nice about the whole ordeal. After all, they received a hefty compensatory package for their troubles and moved down to the South. Have you ever fucked up as badly as this man?