Fort Worth Halts Demolitions After 2 Wrong Houses Razed

August 26, 2013

Demolitions of substandard structures were halted as city officials review why two houses were wrongly torn down this summer and establish new procedures.

A supervisor was put on administrative leave amid a review of the mid-July incidents, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Bill Begley, a spokesman for the Texas city, said Wednesday that a city-hired contractor on July 11 tore down two homes on the same north-side lot. The order was to raze just one house that had suffered fire damage, Begley said.

Fort Worth officials discovered that error while investigating the incorrect July 12 demolition of a Lake Worth-area home. Authorities later determined a city crew marked the wrong structure to be razed, as the house next door was approved for demolition by the city’s building standards commission, Begley said.

The same contractor tore down both homes, and the same city code compliance supervisor was over both cases, Begley said. The name of the supervisor was not immediately released.

Begley on Thursday identified the company as Garrett Demolition, Inc. A message left with the company was not immediately returned.

The city plans to review all previous demolition cases involving the contractor and supervisor and install more safeguards for “documentation and accountability,” Begley said.

“Each step has to be approved before you move on to the next one,” Begley said.

The staff will present the revised rules to the Fort Worth City Council in September for review. Begley said no council vote would be needed to implement the changes.

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