HILL COUNTY — A home dangerously dangling on the edge of a cliff in a Lake Whitney subdivision was burned to the ground Friday afternoon.
But it was more than a fire; it was an event.
In part because it’s such an unusual thing and it was happening live on TV, but also because so many could relate to the idea of having a dream house one day -- and what it would mean to lose it.
“We feel for the family, but it sure is interesting to come out and watch one burn,” one resident told us.
Earlier this week, the cliff the house sits on gave way underneath. Part of the house actually fell to the lake below a short time later. A giant crack first appeared in April, and the homeowners were told to move out.
Officials decided the safest way to prevent the home from falling completely into the lake would be a controlled demolition, conducted with fire. Jake Lindamood, an Irving-based demolition expert, watched this most unusual sight along with the rest of us.
He said in 35 years of business, he's never seen another demolition conducted with fire.
The Hill County Sheriff’s Office provided security around the fire, and local fire departments stood by to ensure everything went safely. It was a hot, dangerous job for the demolition team.
“It went perfect," said Stephen Reveile of Heart of Texas Demo. "I couldn’t ask for it to go any better.”
And it was the social event of the season for many around the lake.
“I wanted to come fishing and watch this big house at White Bluff burn down,” said Lake Whitney resident Douglas Miller.
Appraised at more than $700,000, the home was built in 2008 and was bought by Rob Webb and his wife Denise in 2012.
Like many across the country, the Webbs watched it burn live on TV. They’re in Florida for medical treatment and coming back Saturday.
“It was horrible," Mrs. Webb said. "It was just horrible.”
And clearly many others felt the same way.
“We’ve had people call, and just crying," Rob Webb said. "Because they associate our house with their emotions.”
According to Mr. Webb, the home was inspected before it was purchased.
“It’s like, ’Is that really my home? Or is that something else that you’re watching on TV?’ And then you’re like, “Good grief, that is my home,’" Rob Webb said. "Yeah, it’s a trying time, certainly.”
It is unclear how much the demolition will cost, but Webb is picking up the bill. The homeowner said he spent his retirement savings on the home and is devastated.
“You build your house on a rock, and you think it’s OK,” Mr. Webb said.
Webb also said he and his wife purchased home insurance, but Thursday they found out it doesn't cover earth movement. However, Friday Mr. Webb told us the insurance company decided to resubmit his claim under a different category: fire damage.
They asked him if he could some provide some documentation. He told them to turn on the TV.
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