PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The City of Pittsburgh will no longer offer housing demolition contracts to a company that apparently tore down the wrong house by mistake.
“It’s just a crushed dream,” says Andre Hall of East Liberty. “I always wanted a piece of Pittsburgh. I finally got it. Now it’s gone.”
His dream was a house in the 3200-block of Motor Street in Sheraden. It was in foreclosure and scheduled for demolition until Hall agreed to fix it up within a few months. His dream was crushed with a backhoe.
He returned to town after the holidays and found little trace of the house he hoped to move in with his girlfriend and their children. They live in an apartment now.
He has copies of a letter sent from the city’s Bureau of Building Inspection to contractor P. J. Deller of Gibsonia in November with the words “do not demolish.” The building next door was set for demolition.
“I know they seen the new windows up – I put new windows in, new doors, new doorknobs everything,” Hall said.
“My tools [were] in there. When I pulled up they were already still tearing it down and I asked them, ‘What about the tools that were still in my house?’
“And they said, ‘Oh we didn’t see any tools,’ yet and still you got all my lumber on the back of your truck. Come on, that’s crazy,” said Hall.
The city blames the contractor and announced a new policy for now.
“We’re going to continue to review the matter but we’re issuing no more contracts to that contractor,” said Pittsburgh Public safety Director Michael Huss.
City Council member Theresa Kail-Smith, who represents that district, says the program that Hall participated in had merit, but that she was concerned about the mix up.
“It’s not the city’s responsibility,” said Smith. “It’s not their fault. They’ve taken every step that they should have to make sure that home was not demo’d so I don’t think the city bears responsibility but I think we need to talk to the contractor.”
Hall appreciates the gesture but is left with these emotions: “That don’t help me,” he said. “Now I got a lot.”
There’s no comment so far from the contractor.