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House hanging off cliff is set on fire in TX

Friday, June 13, 2014 - 4:02pm

Lake Whitney (KCEN) -- A house teeters over a cliff in Hill County. If more of the bluff collapses, it could go tumbling into Lake Whitney.

Now the White Bluff Fire chief says they plan on setting it on fire Friday instead of letting that happen.

In 17 years as a fishing guide on the lake, Randy Routh has never seen this before.

"It will eventually fall off," he said. The limestone bluff is giving way and bringing the vacant home with it. He's seen huge boulders collapse into the lake before, just never with a house on top, even though plenty of homes sit close to the edge of fragile limestone cliffs.

"This is something you hear more of in California than you do in Texas," Routh said.

Again Thursday, curious boaters also got a first hand look at the $700,000 home sliding piece by piece into the water.

"There was people on jet skis taking pictures and stuff" Wednesday, Dustin Miser said. He lives nearby and was out to see the house for the second day in a row.

"Last year I seen it and it was a beautiful house," Miser said, "and now it's, now it's gone."

More of the luxury home in White Bluff slips into the lake every day.

The bluff is still weak -- "You're basically looking at condensed chalk," Routh said -- and the crack is growing.

The Hill County Sheriff's Office says it's just a matter of time before it crumbles completely.

"I would be concerned if I was a homeowner," said Routh.

Instead of risking it falling into the lake, the fire department will set the home on fire using bales of hay soaked in diesel fuel. They plan to start the fire at 10 a.m. Friday.

They also debated using a crane to hook a net around the house and pull it back from the cliff before demolishing it.

They put a bunch of buoys around where the house is actually collapsing to keep boats from getting too close to it.

"With the wind and the rain, just the natural corrosion, it's going to continue," Routh said.

If more of that cliff does break off and fall into Lake Whitney, it would probably create a pretty huge wave, enough to capsize boats in the area.

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