Crews demolish San Francisco house sliding off hill

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Crews tore down a multi-million dollar San Francisco house that was sliding down a hill and threatening other homes. Contractors are still trying to determine what's causing the house to shift.

Crews are tearing down a multi-million dollar San Francisco house that is sliding down a hill and threatening other homes.

A three-story, five bedroom house in San Francisco's Sherwood Forest neighborhood was being demolished because the house has separated more than a foot from the curb and has sunk more than a foot.

The city declared it was in serious danger of falling over. The ground underneath is shifting, but no one knows why.

The contractor has one possible theory.

"A ground water leak in pipe, something is causing the whole thing. Since 1960, these homes have been in perfect condition," said Joe Cassidy, a contractor.

That's what Ronald Martell thought when he bought the place last October. Imagine his surprise when he got the call the house he and his family have yet to move into, is no longer standing.

"Anger and other emotions don't help. So, let's get through this. Hopefully we will figure out a good path forward," said Martell.

For the Martell's, they're patiently waiting to rebuild their dream home. "We would certainly would like to once site has been cleared."

The city says, for now, no other homes will be demolished, but five homeowners have been ordered to hire an engineer to prove their properties are not affected by the sliding hillside.

"Well, it's pretty frightening to wake up one day and see your neighbor's home condemned and sliding down the hill," said Steve Ader, a neighbor.

Ader first noticed the crack on his neighbor's house on Monday. But now, he is concerned about the situation on his own property. "We're also very worried because there's also movement on our property," he said.

Tom Hui, the director with the Department of Building Inspection, points out the other properties they're worried about.

Violation notices were hand-delivered to residents, who must hire engineers to check for hazards.

"We were concerned the building could roll down the hill and damage other property," said Hui.

Some neighbors suspect big construction projects could have damaged a water line, but the water department says there are no leaks. An underground cistern at the top of the street has checked and it shows no signs of damage. It holds 70,000 gallons of water for emergencies.

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