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Ex-Official’s House Hits the Skids

Friday, December 20, 2013

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A former San Francisco building official’s house undergoing an unpopular major renovation tumbled down the city’s hilly terrain this week.

No one was living in the home, and no one was injured, reports said.

The home in the Twin Peaks neighborhood belonged to developer and former Building Inspection Commission president Melvin Murphy.

Hillside Home Collapse

Neighbors said they called police and firefighters around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday (Dec. 17) after “they heard what sounded like a dump truck dropping its load,” a local CBS News affiliate reported.

Twin Peaks
Octoferret / Wikimedia Commons

The house, in San Francisco's Twin Peaks neighborhood, was undergoing a significant expansion. The 854-square-foot dwelling was being renovated to reach more than 5,000 square feet.

Built in 1941, the two-story home had been lifted on supports during work to significantly enlarge it. However, those supports failed, sending the house down the hillside, officials told reporters.

“The structure was eventually stopped by a retaining wall, which is now all that stands between the structure and the homes below,” CBS said.

Images of the collapse are posted here.

‘About Ready to Fall’

Neighbors said they had thought the house looked unsteady before the collapse.

“Looked at that thing and said, 'That is about ready to fall,'” neighbor Bill Carpenter told KTVU News.

Reports said Murphy had planned to enlarge the 854-square-foot home into a five-story, 5,000 square-foot mega-home, which the neighbors strongly opposed.

The controversy around the project was covered in a San Francisco Weekly article, "Bringing Down the Housing: How Builders Game the System," in December 2012.

Following the tumble, officials were uncertain as to whether the project would continue.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Construction; Maintenance + Renovation; Renovation; Residential; Residential Construction

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