When 40-year old Andre Hall came home to Pittsburgh after the holidays, he noticed something was missing. His house.
After driving around the block a couple of times and double-checking the address, it appeared his nightmare indeed had come true. The City of Pittsburgh accidentally demolished his newly purchased dream home. Not exactly the best way to kick off the new year. “I always wanted a piece of Pittsburgh — you know, to feel like, to own a piece of Pittsburgh,” Hall said. “And now, to see a backhoe on your dream — your piece of Pittsburgh, gone.”
City officials confirmed that Hall’s house should not have been torn down. John Jennings, acting chief of Pittsburgh’s Bureau of Building Inspection, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that his department notified contractors P.J. Deller Inc. on Nov. 3 that the house no longer was slated for demolition. “A couple things went awry,” Jennings said. “The house next door was to be demolished, and the contractor, in error, took this house down as well.”
Hall said the foreclosed house valued at $31,000 that he bought in November had been empty for five years, but he planned to move in with his girlfriend and his five children in just a few weeks and had already begun making repairs. “My dream is done now,” Hall said. “Someone needs to man up and take responsibility for this.” The contractor at fault has not returned requests for comment, but the city officials confirmed it’s the contractor who is held liable, not the City of Pittsburgh.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened in Pittsburgh. City Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that she remembers a similar incident in Elliott five years ago when crews accidentally demolished part of a home. Fortunately for Hall, he hadn’t moved into the property yet.