Fort Worth Mistakenly Demolished David Underwood's Home, So How Is He This Upbeat?

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There is literally no way to make David Underwood not smile.
On Saturday, the morning after they returned from out of town, David Underwood and his wife decided they ought to stop by their house on Watercress Drive in Fort Worth. The couple doesn't live there at the moment; the modest, ranch-style affair overlooking the northwest corner of Lake Worth belonged to his late grandmother, and the empty-nesters are fixing it up for an eventual move-in. Underwood really just figured the acre-and-a-half spread would need a trim.

So that's where Underwood's eyes were focused as he drove up the residential street; sure enough, the grass was looking a bit shaggy. His wife, meanwhile, was looking up above.

"We rounded the corner and my wife, Valerie says, 'The house is gone David,'" he told Unfair Park. "I'm looking at the yard, so I looked and I'm like, 'Wow, OK.'" They drove their car onto the concrete slab, just to make sure. It was as if a miniature twister had targeted 9716 Watercress Drive, sweeping the house cleanly off its foundation while leaving trees and surrounding homes untouched. Underwood learned from a passing city marshal that there'd been no tornado, just an epic bureaucratic snafu.

Underwood relates all this less like someone whose home disappeared over the weekend than a Zen monk who's misplaced his car keys.

Fox 4's Dionne Anglin interviewed Underwood on Monday and fills in the rest. The city of Fort Worth had sent out a demolition crew last week to raze the home at 9708 Watercress, which was condemned months ago. That property looked like this:

Thumbnail image for 9708Watercress.jpg

It still does, because the demolition crew contracted by the city instead targeted the vacant but well-kept home next door.

This is the point when most people would resort to firebombing city hall. But Underwood merely called his city councilman, whose staff immediately set to work and informed the city they had made an error, which they acknowledge.

"A mistake was made," Fort Worth's code compliance director, Brandon Bennett, told The Dallas Morning News' Dave Lieber. "We have to identify where the weak link was and fix that so it doesn't happen again. We need to look at all of our upcoming demolitions, and double- and triple-check these things to make sure everybody has dotted the I's and crossed the T's."

Because next time, their victim won't be as incredibly understanding as Underwood, who is waiting patiently while the claim he filed with the city's risk management department is processed.

And in case you're wondering how Underwood manages to stay so relentlessly upbeat after losing his grandmother's home, try working at a nonprofit like United Community Centers, which serves children and families in low-income areas.

"Ninety-seven percent of the people we serve earn less than $17,000 per year," he says. "I see people every day who have it so bad. I still have a house. It's not like I'm living in a cardboard box down by the river."

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David can probably build a mansion now to replace grannies home; compliments of the Tarrant Co. tax payers.  Who says incompetence doesn't pay.


When the city pulls out their checkbook I hope he negotiates the sentimental value of his Grandmother's house in the settlement as well as all of the thousands of dollars worth of electronic and jewelry that was in there!


no one asked code compliance for a PHOTO??


Where does common sense play a part with the demolition crew? I mean, you're dispatched to an average-looking house, but you look one or two doors down and see a place that's completely derelict. Wouldn't a foreman with any sense start asking questions?



Fort Worth Mistakenly Demolished David Underwood's Home, So How Is He This Upbeat?


I Break I cry You Break you Buy !


I think his future has been told in the cards. All that his compensation will amount to it a steady diet of government cheese and he'll have plenty of time to think about living in a van down by the river...when he's living in a van down by the river.


His approach always has proven to be the most healthy. Investing a lot of emotion in the harm and getting payback is not good for your mind and body. He does seem to be in best situation in that a reasonable market driven appraisal will be sufficient with no emotional baggage. We have seen other people with much less harm surrender to the need for payback and getting respect, whatever that means. These things take years and you do not get those years back once the legal issues end and you get your check.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

"We have to identify where the weak link was and fix that so it doesn't happen again"

How about looking at the address number on the house?  And if it doesn't match, or there isn't one, don't demolish the house until confirmation is made with the City.

Clearly a case of being in the bozone.

Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

I'd be smiling too if that was my gramps house....all the way to the bank. :-)

primi_timpano topcommenter

If it were Dallas they would have already received a bill for the demolition costs.

ChrisYu topcommenter

guess it's a good thing grandma had checked out.


After thinking it over, I would be calm too. He still has a place to live. And, instead of fixing up the house, the city will be paying to build a new one.


I hope Underwood is still smiling when the city of Fort Worth whips out it's checkbook.  Provided they don't try to wiggle out of the responsibility and tell him 'tough luck and kiss off'.


@summer00  Why should they need one. Any kindergartner can read the numbers 9708 .  You can't teach common sense though :/

TheCredibleHulk topcommenter


Not my job, mang.

Now, let's pull up 9710 on Google earth and get to work . . .

mcdallas topcommenter

@MattF I was looking for this.  You made my day, Chris Farley.


@Tim.Covington Not to mention, it didn't have pictures or other personal mementos in the house (I assume this is the case since they were fixing it up).  The city has gotten lucky on this one.

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