The video shows an excavator pulling the blighted building down when the chimney of the neighboring building, which shares a wall with the blighted one, suddenly collapses. The falling chimney causes the entire building to fall in on itself, vanishing in a cloud of rubble in a matter of seconds.
"Oh sh*t!" commented one observer. "Oh fu*k!" opined another.
One of America's oldest cities, Baltimore often demolishes old and dilapidated structures that have fallen into disrepair. For the rowhouse in question, at 212 E. Fort Avenue, neighbors had reported that the exterior wall was on the verge of collapse and there was a significant crack between the rowhouse and its neighbor, a now-abandoned pet shop called the Laundry Mutt, the Baltimore Sun reported.
"If a property presents an imminent danger, Baltimore City will take whatever action is necessary to protect the public, including emergency demolition," said city Housing Department spokesperson Tania Baker in a statement. "Precautions are always taken with adjacent properties, in this case ensuring that it was unoccupied."
Buildings like 212 are "routinely demolished without incident," Baker added.
The demolition was performed by Charm City Builders, which specializes in tearing down uninhabited husks and building sturdy new homes in their place. Founder and CEO Tyler Banks said he had no idea why the wrong building collapsed, as he and city inspectors had done a walkthrough of the area just days prior.
"I was there until about 2 in the morning, just worried about the whole situation, just wanting to make sure everyone was safe," he said. "I take a lot of pride in the work we do, so for me, the last thing I'd ever want to see is something like this happen."
The Laundry Mutt had been acquired by another developer, Metropolitan Asset Management. They intended to renovate it into a three-level home, but now it seems that they'll have to rebuild it. "We have no other option," said CEO Joseph Rene.