Company Accidentally Knocks Down Wrong House

Category : Human Interest

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. demolish / dɪˈmɒl ɪʃ / (v) – to destroy a house or structure on purpose

    The old hospital building will be demolished next week.

  2. homage / ˈhɒm ɪdʒ / (n) – respect or admiration

    The book pays homage to the author’s father.

  3. strip / strɪp / (v) – to take everything out of a room, place, etc. and leave it bare

    I plan to renovate my room, which is stripped of its wallpaper.

  4. disarray / ˌdɪs əˈreɪ / (n) – a state of not being organized

    He was late, so he left the house with his clothes in disarray.

  5. habitable / ˈhæb ɪ tə bəl / (adj) – can be lived in

    It would cost a lot to renovate the house and make it habitable.


Read the text below.

A company accidentally demolished the wrong house on a street in Dallas, Texas.

Family-owned company JR Demolition and Excavating Inc. was supposed to knock down a house on Richard Avenue. However, the company mistakenly destroyed a 97-year-old house on the same street instead. The demolished residence once belonged to Mary Ann Degataire, who painted the house’s exterior pink as homage to the time she spent living in the Cayman Islands.

Degataire left the property to her friend, Jeremy Wenninger, when she died. Wenninger became the legal owner of the house last year, and he and a co-owner have been renovating the property ever since.

The owner of the demolition company apologized for the mistake. He explained that the property did not have a house number, and the address on the street curb was covered with water because of heavy rain. The house’s state was also similar to that of other properties that the company had demolished in the area. When employees of the company inspected the house, they found that it was stripped of plumbing and electricity and lacked a concrete foundation. Neighbors added that the property was vacant, and several homeless people had tried settling in the house before.

The property’s co-owner acknowledged that the house was in disarray but said that the house was still habitable. He and Wenninger were heartbroken upon hearing the news of the accidental demolition because they had been struggling to save the house for the last two years.

The demolition company is currently working on a resolution with Wenninger. Wenninger hopes that the company’s final offer recognizes the sentimental value of the house.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• How would you feel after learning that your house had been mistakenly demolished? Discuss.
• How do you think the demolition company’s mistake could have been prevented? Explain.

Discussion B

• Do you think old structures should be demolished? Why or why not?
• What else can be done to old structures (e.g. turn them into shops or restaurants)? Discuss.

Category : Human Interest