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Salt Lake home undergoing remodel collapses

SALT LAKE CITY — A house near Salt Lake City's Liberty Park that was under construction collapsed Wednesday and then crumbled even more on Thursday, creating a neighborhood spectacle and costing a family their home.

Crews were called to 738 E. Roosevelt Ave. (1460 South), where the home gave way, firefighters reported about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. No one was in the building as construction workers had left for the day, Salt Lake Fire Capt. Adam Archuleta said.

Photos of the home shared on social media Wednesday showed support beams on the porch askew and a window displaced. By Thursday, however, the house appeared to be flattened under the roof.

Such collapses, according to Archuleta, are "very uncommon."

Greg Mikolash, Salt Lake City development review supervisor, agreed. "I've never seen this before," he said.

The home collapsed after the contractor's crew dug into the home's foundation and took out critical support, according to Mikolash.

The homeowner said workers had been digging out the basement to expand the home.

Remodeling projects like that are common, he said, but a collapse like that is rare. In the last two years, the city had seen only a couple of partial collapses where the houses had to be demolished.

"Honestly, this is the worst I've ever seen. This reminds me of something that would happen during an earthquake — a major earthquake," Mikolash said.

Next-door neighbor Alan Tew and his wife were talking in their home when they heard the cacophony on Wednesday evening.

"The first clue was the sound of what we thought was thunder in the bedroom," Tew recalled. "We ran outside, saw the house and we were like, 'Oh my …' and the neighbors were already on the phone calling 911."

He worried about the safety of his own home.

"The pillars of the front of the house looked like it was holding up the roof, and (could) potentially slide down and hit our house," Tew said.

As a precaution, the couple stayed with relatives Wednesday night.

"I feel terrible for them because what turned out to be a basement project is now a house project," Tew said.

As of Thursday, the homeowner and the city didn't know what will happen next with insurance claims and the future of the property. They expected to learn more in the next couple of weeks.

Neighbors established a GoFundMe account for the family who lost their home to help them rebuild. Neighbors love the family, according to the page.

Correction:A previous version incorrectly stated the homeowner and the city "did know what will happen next" with insurance claims. They did not know as of Thursday.