Sliding House, Sold for $2M, Demolished in San Francisco

A house that sold for $2 million last year had to be demolished before it slid into other homes, according to inspectors.

A San Francisco home with sweeping ocean views that sold about two months ago for more than $2 million was demolished Thursday after a crack was found in the retaining wall.

The family that bought the house in October has not moved in yet, but was told by engineers that they would have to do an emergency demolition after the house moved more than a foot in just four days, putting neighboring houses in danger.

On Thursday afternoon, homeowner Ronald Martell watched as demolition crews ripped his house apart.

"It's a great view in a great neighorhood — we just loved the location. Great place to raise a family," Martell said as excavators took out walls and beams. He had planned to remodel, not rebuild it.

The dream house quickly turned into a nightmare. "It's horrifying news to receive when you're a couple of thousand miles away at your father's funeral," Martell said.

Martell, as well as other neighbors, had called the Department of Building Inspection to report a growing gap in the home's driveway in the sidewalk, and a massive crack in the exterior wall.

Inspectors say the house is on an active landslide.

City workers worried the crack could cause the house in the city’s Sherwood Forest neighborhood to slide, so the Department of Building granted an emergency demolition permit before it slid into another home. The house moved 14 inches in a one-week span, according to inspectors.

Inspectors said five other homes could also be in danger.

"It's for everyone's safety," Martell said. "God forbid that the house slides down the hill into somebody's bedroom."

Martell is trying to figure out who will be paying the demolition and rebuilding costs, but first the cause has to be determined.

The NBC Bay Area chopper caught demolition crews at work Thursday afternoon, as the house was slowly reduced to a pile rubble.

Downslope, water can be seen pouring out of the hillside. Other neighbors have also received notices to have their houses inspected by the city.

"The water pressure just pushed up the dirt, and the gravel moved by six inches or so," said Cal Nakanishi, who owns  ahome nearby. "It's doubled the width since yesterday."

No one is sure where the water is coming from or what it will cost to prevent more damage.

Demolition crews were back Friday morning to finish the work. They plan to leave the foundation in place, hoping that it will stop the hillside from moving.

Click here to see a list of Bay Area interactive landslide maps.

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