WHITNEY (June 13, 2014) A $700,000 vacation home perched on a crumbling cliff overlooking Lake Whitney was burned to the ground deliberately Friday.
An Austin engineering contractor that the owners hired planned to set the house on fire at around 10 a.m. Friday, but it was around noon before the house was torched.
Within 90 minutes, little of the luxury home was still standing.
White Bluff firefighters will standby to protect surrounding homes and structures and the Hill County Sheriff’s Office will provide deputies for crowd control.
Once the house has burned, debris will be loaded into dump trucks and will be hauled off, Hill County Emergency Management Coordinator Tom Hemrick said..
The house was condemned earlier after a fracture appeared in the bluff on which it was built.
Soil and debris have been falling into the lake as the ground beneath the 4,000-square-foot home crumbles
The fracture has widened from a few inches on Tuesday to more than four feet Thursday, Hemrick said.
Officials were concerned that heavy rain from overnight storms would widen the fault-line further, which could be a catalyst for a collapse, but the house was still standing Friday morning.
Tax records show that the home in the White Bluff Resort subdivision near Whitney was built in 2007.
Robert and Denise Webb purchased it in 2012.
The Webbs have another home along Florida's Miami Beach.
They told WTSP-TV that it's hard to watch.
Robert Webb says geologists and inspectors, before the purchase, told them the property was perfectly stable.