Crews demolish condemned Pacifica apartment complex

PACIFICA, Calif. (KGO) -- Crews knocked down a condemned 20-unit apartment complex on Esplanade Avenue in Pacifica Monday because the bluff beneath the building keeps vanishing.

Residents had to move out of their homes a year ago because of the dangerous conditions.

RELATED: Pacifica City Council votes to demolish building falling into sea

After years of worrying about the safety of residents living on a crumbling bluff, the last building at 310 Esplanade Avenue was demolished.

Years of storms and king tides contributed to the erosion of the cliff.

It was a moment many in the Pacifica neighborhood wanted to remember. "I had to see it and my son loves construction trucks so, we weren't going to miss this," one woman said.

Crews carefully dealt with the unstable structure and bluff to avoid any pieces falling below.

It was the last of three buildings on Esplanade Avenue that had started collapsing due to the continued bluff erosion.

Some residents fear their apartments may be next. "Because I think it is coming in. The ocean is taking back what it wants," Pacifica resident Mark Fischer said.

The city helped residents relocate earlier this year. Taxpayers will be left paying for the cost of the demolition, which is about $330,000.

The owner of the two properties declared bankruptcy in 2015. "It's really his responsibility, but he was not in a position to do so and essentially time ran out. We are where we are and the building, both of them had to come down and so we're stepping in to protect the public's safety," city manager Lorie Tinfow said.

Hazmat crews had already removed the lead and asbestos from its interior, but the air quality was still being monitored for any dangerous particles. "In terms of those materials being unsafe, they have been already taken away. As a precaution, we added that as a precautionary measure," director of public works Van Ocampo said.

Pacifica will now get an influx of federal grants to help shore up the bluff and secure the road.

Built in the 1960s, what was home to a few, is now an open space with a view for all.
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