The 4,000-square-foot luxury home that has spent days teetering on the verge of collapsing into a Texas lake was set ablaze this morning after an attempt to pull the house back to solid ground failed.
A crew set the home on fire after the property was prepared last night.
“Yeah, it’s a trying time, certainly,” the homeowner, Rob Webb, told ABC’s Dallas affiliate WFAA.
Officials decided to demolish the home after first trying to pull the home back to stable ground with cables. The crew planned to start in the attic and hoped the home burns inward, Tom Hemrick, the emergency management coordinator for Hill County, told WFAA.
The Hill County Sheriff’s Office will be providing security around the fire, and local fire departments are standing by to ensure everything goes safely. Webb says he will be responsible for the cost of today’s demolition. Though the home, which Webb purchased with his retirement savings is insured, Webb says his policy does not cover earth movement.
Webb has been in Florida dealing with a personal issue, according to WFAA, and watching from afar as pictures of his vacation home on Lake Whitney near Fort Worth, Tex., go viral.
The home, which Webb purchased in 2012 and is appraised at $700,000, has been dangling about 75 feet above the lake’s shoreline since Tuesday, when neighbors said they first heard sounds that reminded them of an earthquake.
"I immediately thought it was an earthquake or blasting; it was loud, really loud," neighbor Connie Ash told WFAA. "And then I saw smoke, dust, water...it was a huge cloud of stuff."
Sheriff officials told WFAA the home was condemned one year ago after officials observed a crack in a nearby cliff. Webb and his family were told to evacuate two weeks ago.
A sign reading “EXTREME DANGER, STAY OFF PREMISES” has stood in the home’s front yard since Tuesday.
“It’s like, ’Is that really my home? Or is that something else that you’re watching on TV,’” Webb told WFAA of seeing images of his home on the news and online. “And then you’re like, ‘Good grief, that is my home.’”