Around 8 a.m. on Tue. June 2, a backhoe operator began demolishing the two-story house at 297 Lilac, yet there was no safety fence in place.
With no barrier around the demolition site, elementary students were passing through headed to their school, Ecole LaVerendrye, just across the street.
A resident of the block myself, I began to divert children who were attempting to walk through the site on the public sidewalk, just a few feet away from the house being demolished.
The sidewalk was already covered in branches from a destroyed but healthy elm tree, as well as with metal and glass still falling from the work being done.
Amidst a cloud of dust from unknown elements of the house, I ushered the children safely past. There was a boy about 5-years-old, crouched under a pile of debris and branches, watching the excitement, so I got him out.
A man arrived who identified himself as being in charge. I caught his name and cell number but I wasn’t certain if he said he was the Project Manager or Head Contractor.
The backhoe operator told him when he arrived there was no fence up but he began work anyway. The boss replied the fence guys were going to be late, expected around noon, but to go ahead with the work anyway. The Operator said there are kids walking through and around, to which the boss said, “They’ll figure it out.”
Due to the obvious potential danger, I phoned 911 at 8:25 a.m. A police car with two officers arrived shortly after and told the backhoe operator to cease work.
The police put up yellow tape around the site and told the machine operator not to restart work until the fence arrived.
I identified myself to the police on the scene as having been the person who called 911. They said the fence should be here at noon, but if they restart work before it is up I should call them and they’ll return. I told them I am already late for work.
When I returned home after work, the fence was up and there was only an empty hole where the house had once stood.
The previous homeowner of 20 years, who had also been watching the demolition told me he sold the property and a tri-plex is planned to replace it.
This block is in the Corydon neighbourhood where there has been years of controversy over the Corydon-Osborne Area Plan and how the community will be developed.
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