Watch a Mortified Demolition Crew Accidentally Tear Down the Wrong Building

GIF: YouTube / Gizmodo

Working in demolition is tough. The pay sucks. You’re constantly hauling garbage around. Every job is dangerous. And sometimes—sometimes—you accidentally tear down the wrong building.


That’s what happened to a crew of city contractors in Baltimore on Sunday. The Baltimore City Department of Housing had hired them to carry out an emergency demolition of an old row house that had a big hulking crack in the wall. It was going great at first. Neighbors had even come out to watch destruction. And then, with one doomed move from the excavator, a pile of bricks toppled over onto the building next door.

It took a few seconds for the dust to clear, but when it did, the neighboring building—which was not supposed to get torn down—was utterly destroyed. Fast-forward to the 50-second mark for the money shot.

Brutally, the owner of the wrongly demolished building watched it all happen from the sidewalk, but he seems pretty chill about the whole thing. “We’ll rebuild it,” Joseph Rene, a developer who owns the former home of the Laundry Mutt—which is now a pile of bricks—told The Baltimore Sun. “We have no other option.”

The city contractors did not offer the local paper any comment. Now that video of the demolition oops is racking up tens of thousands of views on YouTube, the company is surely worried about the future. That’s just another fact of life in the demolition business. Doing too much demolishing is far, far worse than not doing enough.


Senior editor at Gizmodo.


I’m an engineer (not a civil engineer) and not an architect, but I really don’t understand how this demolition could have ended any other way. Those houses were so close together (and who knows how they were connected), I just don’t see how one act (demo of the first) could have avoided affecting the other. Especially given how catastrophically the second failed once it was compromised.