back to article GPS-guided wreckers flatten wrong house

A Georgia man is none too happy that his memory-filled family home, lovingly hand built "brick by brick" by Pop, is now a scene of rubble-strewn desolation after a demolition firm used a GPS to identify its victim and moved in for the kill. Al Byrd of Sandy Springs got a bit of a shock earlier this month when someone called to …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    You'll need a towel

    I think we need to start watching the sky for big cubic ships ...

    Mine's the one with a towel in the pocket

  2. WinHatter

    A fool with a tool is still a fool

    Some fooking eejits should not be allowed to take any decision and should not be allowed anywhere near a "technological" tool being a jackhammer or a toaster.

    The only up in that story is there was no one in the house .... hmm are we sure of that.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Need a new comment icon

    The mob of lawyers.

  4. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Moral of the story?

    1.) never give your GPS co-ords to anyone who doesn't like you

    2.) who needs cruise missiles any more?

  5. Gary F


    That's so funny. Thank god that wasn't *my* house. ;-)

  6. Ray0x6


    Some persons less charitable than I may suggest that the gentleman featured in this story deserves to have his house knocked down for his complete failure to understand the proper contextual usage of the word "incredulous".

    I, however, laugh in the face of semantics (but not angry workmen in JCBs).

  7. Andrew Moore


    'Vernice Parham, who has lived on the street with two of her six sisters for more than 40 years, was home when the demolition began. “It hurt my heart,” she said. “I wasn’t raised up in it , but I was raised up near it,” Parham said. “I know we got a heavenly home. But we’ve got a Earthly home there.”'

    Sounds like the house was right next to the local lunatic asylum...

  8. Clive Galway
    Thumb Down

    OK, I don't get it...

    Surely if demolishing a house like that, it is going to be pretty damned obvious that it is lived in.

    I look at that rubble and I don't see a lot of evidence. Surely you would see TVs, computers, washing machines, fridges - those kinds of things are pretty resilient structurally. Sure you would break em real quick but an american sized fridge is still going to be a huge lump of white metal.

    Had it been chock full of the usual stuff people have I think the workmen would have stopped once they saw the first household appliance or two fall out.

    Furthermore, surely if a house was going to be demolished, electric and gas would be disconnected at least a day or two before the event. I would doubt it is something the contractors would have done, so if they really got the wrong house, surely the gas would still be on?

    Something tells me there was sod all in the house and he is trying to milk it. Maybe he did know it was going to happen and didn't stop it for insurance purposes.

  9. Adam Foxton
    Thumb Down

    @Andrew Moore

    It's the 'states. They call them "churches".

    Also, condolances to the guy. You'd have hoped that something like demolition would have its paperwork backed up by someone representing the client...

    Shouldn't a house be rather a large target? GPS can't be THAT bad. Especially outside. What's the betting that by "GPS" he meant "Tom Tom"

  10. Snake Plissken
    Black Helicopters


    How did they manage to demolish a house that presumably was connected up to the mains, gas, water etc without setting the place on fire or flooding it?

  11. jon 44

    A title is required.

    it's a good think nothing lethal is guided by GPS... oh.. wait.

  12. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    @Andrew Moore

    Nah, not lunatics. Loonies can still use decent grammar. These folks are in Carrolton, which is just south of that redneck stronghold known as Villa Rica. Besides we just talk like that here in Georgia, and we's is always looking forwart to our heavenly home. Amen.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Computer is never wrong...

    Obviously the owner missed the message:

    USR, demolition robot, serial 9-4.

    Demolition scheduled for 8 am tomorrow.

  14. Nigel 11

    Beware of the leopard?

    Anyone else remembering the hitch-hiker's guide to the galaxy?

  15. John Bayly
    Thumb Down


    To be fair, I don't think my my language & grammar would be perfect if some dickhead demolished my house by mistake.

    Just a shame that the idiots doing the work didn't get blown up after destroying the gas pipes.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    "All the planning charts...

    ...and demolition orders have been on display in your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for fifty of your Earth years, so you've had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint and it's far too late to start making a fuss about it now."

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Business opportunity

    Nice bit of Shock and Awe. Maybe the US airforce could move into this line of business - could work if they used their enhanced blast JDAMs. Absolutely porktastic!

  18. RW

    @ Clive Galway

    My reading of the story is that the house was unoccupied, though it still contained mementos of Mother.

    As for "hutch", think "china cabinet". Tall cabinet a meter or so wide, typically with glassed-in shelves with doors above, drawers below, used for storage and display of the china, linens, and glassware you only use for special guests.

    What surprises me is that, given that demolishing the wrong building is a known hazard of the demolition business, greater care wasn't taken in specifying the target. Even if one accepts that the house demolition business doesn't demand a lot of brains, surely to God it's obvious you check, re-check, and check yet again before firing up the backhoes. Otherwise you and your company end up the subject of sarcastic news articles in distant lands.

    OTOH, what's the old saying? "There's no such thing as bad publicity."

    Expert icon just to annoy the mentally constipated.

  19. Alex Brett

    @jon 44

    If a nuclear missile lands on the wrong side of the street, it's not exactly going to make a huge amount of difference.

    Also, anything requiring precision is normally laser guided, or at least a combination of GPS to get to roughly the right area, then a laser target for the final accurate positioning...

  20. Mike Moyle

    @ Clive Galway --

    The place was apparently unoccupied, but hadn't been emptied of all furniture (china cabinet, etc.) so it's unclear how much was actually left in the house. I also note at least two pretty full-looking dumpsters in the linked slideshow, so the lack of visible, recognizable kitchen debris is likely easily explained.

    Also, the lack of gas/electrical problems are doubtless explained by "...evidence of the impending apocalypse - in the form of a missing power box and 'holes punched in the walls' - prior to the destruction..." as noted in the article that you're commenting on. I think that we can assume that the "paperwork" that the demolition crew-boss had included forms that said that all utilities had been disconnected at the listed location; thus, no earth-shattering kaboom. If he had a habit of starting demolitions WITHOUT having something in hand saying that all utilities were disconnected, I'm amazed he lived long enough to learn even as much about GPS as he has!

  21. Barney Carroll

    @Clive Galway

    Hang on… You read this article and your reaction is to suspect foul play on the owner's part? That's a pretty weird vindictive sense of 'must've done something'.

    I don't have many posessions and am known to spend quite a bit of time away from home, but I don't think I deserve to have my family home bulldozed…

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Although partially out of place, the word "Incredulous" would fit nicely almost anywhere else in the statement.

    Plus, this came from an American? Should we not first give him credit for going over two syla.... syla.... parts.

    OTOH, Good work to the demolition crew, it looks like they got that part of the job right.

  23. Mike Hocker

    Tat Bazaar

    The noobs probably stripped out everything portable of value to sell on the tat bazaar before flatlining the place. Maybe the owner ought to check to see if Ma's heirlooms have popped up yet.

  24. PacketPusher


    If y'all call a hutch a dresser, what do you call that thing with drawers that hold your underwear?

  25. Marvin the Martian


    It's inconceivable that "incredulous" is correctly used here!

    /dread pirate Marvin

  26. Steven Jones


    If you are going to introduce home demolition as a fit and proper punishment for grammatical misdemeanors, then that's going to render homeless virtually all the people who post to this site (including most of the the journalists). The only good thing to be said for the idea is that John Prescott and George Bush would have been living on the streets within a few seconds of opening their mouths.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think that after having some numbskull demolish your house because the computer said so you're allowed to have a couple of grammatical errors and a stammer.

  28. J 3

    Can you smell?

    Can you smell the millions of dollars coming? Can you hear the approaching pack of ravenous lawyers, barking in the distance?

  29. Martin 6 Silver badge

    The plans were available

    On Alpha Centauri for 50 of your earth years, if you can't be bothered to take an interest in local affairs....

  30. Moz

    Drawers in ya drawers.

    Wordplay: "If y'all call a hutch a dresser, what do you call that thing with drawers that hold your underwear?"

    Erm... the missus...? (badum-tish)

  31. Lupus

    FAO PacketPusher

    "If y'all call a hutch a dresser, what do you call that thing with drawers that hold your underwear?"

    ... Chest of drawers?

  32. Eugene Goodrich
    Paris Hilton

    re: assuming the owner is (re)acting in bad faith

    "If you're not running an insurance scam, you have no bulldozer to fear."

    Paris, because... well, let's just say my use of "bulldozer" would be strictly figurative, and my use of "fear" might be slightly archaic.

  33. Roger Jenkins

    Tall boy

    "If y'all call a hutch a dresser, what do you call that thing with drawers that hold your underwear?"

    ... Chest of drawers?

    ... Tallboy - if it has many drawers and stand pretty high (about six drawers high).

    ... LowBoy - if it has fewer drawers and stands, em! lower (maybe 3-4 drawers high).

    I don't believe that Barnes Wallace had any input in the design of these particular Tallboys.

  34. Mark McC
    Thumb Up

    To paraphrase Troughton-era Doctor Who

    "Technology doesn't prevent idiots from being wrong, it just allows them to be wrong with more authority".

    Well, it's a change from the 101 Hitchhikers' Guide references bound to get attached to this story.

  35. Charles Manning

    re: Moral of the story?

    Make sure your house is more than 20m away from your neighbours' so that GPS positioning errors don't get you.

  36. kain preacher


    “I said, ‘What address did you have?’ and he said, ‘They sent me some GPS coordinates.’ I said, ‘Don’t you have an address?’ [and] he said, ‘Yes, my GPS coordinates led me right to this address here and this house was described.’

    Whats wrong with using an house address ?

  37. Solomon Grundy


    In the States a dresser is a wide, low, thing with a mirror on top.

    A chest of drawers is tall, 3 feet or so wide , with lots of drawers but no mirror.

    A dresser (aka wardrobe, or armoire) is about like a chest of drawers but usually only has 2 doors and has a rod for hanging things inside - may or may not have mirrors on the inside or outside of the doors.

    A "hutch" is actually a separate piece of furniture that sits on top of a "server". The server is usually about 4 feet wide with some combination of drawers and doors and the hutch sits on top of it - just like the "hutch" on some computer desks.

  38. elderlybloke

    The story mentions

    " a missing power box". I suppose this is a meter box located at the street boundary.

    That would mean that the electricity supply had been disconnected.

    A bit odd that if the house was occupied that nobody bothered to enquire " where is my electricity, it seems to have gone missing".

  39. Charley 1

    So a hutch is

    a like a china cabinet or a sideboard?

    And where did that number come from after my name??

    I am Not a number.

    I am a free man!

  40. Jesthar

    Where the white goods possibly went... any other recognisable valuables, is into the back of an unmarked white van or several.

    If the experience of a friend whose house was damaged by fire is anything to go by anyway, he said it was amazing how many of the expensive appliances from his rather new and pretty much undamaged kitchen were adjudged 'damaged beyond repair' by the insurer comissioned work crew (before the loss adjuster turned up, naturally), but 'disappeared' to somewhere that wasn't the skip...

  41. Matthew 4

    want to laugh

    But its horrible! poor guy imagine coming home and having all your shit destroyed. Well he'll sue their ass into oblivion I guess

  42. Simon B

    satnav man!!

    He should give the driver a satnav - directed to drive of a cliff ... I wonder if he'd drive off ???!

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