Sliding multi-million dollar San Francisco home demolished

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ByAlan Wang KGO logo
Friday, January 29, 2016
Sliding multimillion dollar San Francisco home demolished
Before more rain, a multimillion dollar home in San Francisco had to be demolished due to the fear it would fall down the hillside.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A multi-million dollar house in San Francisco is now just a pile of rubble. The hillside where the house was located is sliding and with more rain on the way, city officials made the decision to order an emergency demolition.

The demolition of the four-bedroom home on Casitas Avenue will continue on Friday. However, when it is done, the problem won't be solved because it is not the house that is moving -- it is the hillside. Now, five other homes around it are being threatened.

The homeowner of the demolished home, Ronald Martell, said it has been a bad week for him. He was at his father's funeral in Ohio when the city of San Francisco called to tell him his newly-bought home had to be demolished. His family hadn't even moved in yet.

Martell explained, "The foundation is still trying to do its job to keep it in place. It's the hill that's moving."

Next-door neighbor Stephen Ader was the first to notice Martell's driveway separating from the sidewalk.

Ader said, "And of course slipping down the hill could affect our house, so we're very concerned about that."

By the time demolition crews arrived, the house had separated 14 inches from the street and sank about a foot. It is threatening to fall on Jason Au's home below.

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Au said, "If there's a landslide, his house will come down because of the weight, and of course it will hit my house."

Also below is Cal Nakanishi's home where water is seeping out of the ground and he pointed out, "In the last 72 hours this retaining wall cracked, the fence buckled. The soil below us has risen about five or six inches."

The ground is splitting and his stone wall is crumbling. The city is now ordering five homeowners to hire a soil engineer to prove their homes are safe.

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