Demolition Company Tears Down Wrong House, Employee Blames Google Maps
A Texas-based demolition firm accidentally tore down the wrong house before blaming Google Maps for providing the incorrect address for the house it was supposed to tear down.
The company, Billy L Nabors Demolition, had obtained a demolition permit for a duplex in Rowlett, Texas.
As WFAA-TV reports, the company was sent to demolish 7601 and 7603 Cousteau Drive, a tornado-damaged duplex in Rowlett, Texas. Somehow, 7601 and 7603 Calypso Drive, another tornado-damaged duplex a block away, was torn down, which is one street away.
After being informed by a neighbour, the owner of one half of the duplex, Lindsay Diaz, told WFAA that she drove up to the property, only to find that it was gone.
“How do you make a mistake like this? I mean, this is just the worst,” Diaz told WFAA. “They really wrecked my life.” She added, “[Google’s] mistake caused me to lose my home.”
Employees from the company later texted photos from Google Maps that shows the arrow for 7601 Cousteau pointing at the duplex a block away, according to WFAA. The crew reportedly thought they tore down the correct home, adding that the situation was “not a big deal”.
Demolition companies are not required to be licensed in the state of Texas, but all contractors working in tornado-damaged areas must register with the city of Rowlett.
Diaz then reported to CBS: “The team went out in the morning … They called him. They said, we’re at 7601, 7603. Is it the corner lot? Was it damaged by the tornado? Yes, yes, yes. Except the street wasn’t confirmed.”
Brian Funderburk, city manager, precluded the firm’s attempts to play down the situation. He told WFAA: “I think this is a huge deal. The homeowners were in the process of trying to figure out what it was going to take to repair their home and now they’re looking at rebuilding it instead. I think this is a very big deal.”
Local residents took to the company’s Facebook page to criticize the company for not compensating Diaz for the error.
“We all make mistakes, and this was a colossal mistake, but an even bigger mistake is not reaching out to the people with a basic apology whose lives were catastrophically upended upon learning their homes were destroyed,” said one Facebook user.
However, in an email, Google acknowledged the Maps error and said it’s investigating the cause.
“Google Maps did indeed show incorrect information for the houses in question,” a spokeswoman told CNNMoney. “Both addresses were shown as being in the same location (7601 Calypso Dr) on Google Maps… the issue was fixed as soon as it was brought to our attention.”
Google Maps now points to Diaz’s home accurately. Apple Maps, Yahoo Maps and MapQuest also display the correct information.
Google Maps uses a combination of satellite, aerial and street-level images and data to chart the world. The company also takes submissions and change requests through its Google Map Maker tool to keep its maps up to date. Ever since GPS was created, people have followed instructions from these sources without question. GPS errors occur quite frequently leading to hilarious outcomes, sometimes even deadly.