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KERA's One Crisis Away project focuses on North Texans living on the financial edge.

Rough Road To Recovery For Tornado Victim Whose Home Was Mistakenly Demolished

Courtney Collins
KERA news

Two weeks ago, Rowlett resident Lindsay Diaz got news that her storm-damaged home had been demolished by mistake.

Her story was featured in our series One Crisis Away: Rebuilding A Life. Post-demolition, it's been a haze of meetings, phone calls and media requests from around the world.

The demolition company has promised to make things right. Diaz just wants life to get back to normal.

From Home To Slab

In just three months, her Rowlett duplex went from happy home to storm-wrecked house to concrete slab. And, Lindsay Diaz says, she’s not sure how much more she can take.

“What else could happen to me? I hope that this is it," she says.

All that's left is the foundation, with little patches of flooring here and there. And even that can’t be salvaged.

“The foundation has to come up, we will not be able to build a house on it, so it’s going to have to be taken up," she says.

Two weeks ago a crew from Billy Nabors Demolition tore down the duplex by mistake; they were supposed to demolish a house one block over. They had the right number, but the wrong street.

Admitting A Mistake

A spokesperson with the company told Diaz, they will make things right.

“The impression I have is that they are going to build what they took down. You know because the home was already damaged and I did receive funds from my insurance company," she says. "My impression is they are going to pay the difference.”

An employee with Billy Nabors Demolition sent over a statement. 

It reads, in part, “We understand the significance of our mistake and we have taken the necessary steps to address the loss to the homeowners. This was an unfortunate and unintentional accident caused by human error, and nothing else.”

Read the full statement here.

Ever since her home was knocked down, Diaz has been pelted with interview requests non-stop.

Instant notoriety was not something she expected.

“I’ve had people contact me from the UK, asking for my story," she says.

Credit Courtney Collins / KERA news
KERA news
Lindsay snuggles 9-month-old Arian while visiting the site of her wrecked duplex.

Desperate For Normal

And while the media attention has been interesting and some people have materialized out of thin air asking how they could help, Diaz says she’d rather wind back the clock to the morning of Dec. 26, 2015 when she still lived in a cozy, two bedroom duplex with her boyfriend and baby.

“It’s so much. I work full time, and I have the baby," she says. "It’s starting to get to me.”

The tornado hit almost three and a half months ago, and she’s no closer to rebuilding her life than she was the day after the storm. And while she hopes everything will work out in the end, Lindsay Diaz says she’d really just like a stretch of smooth pavement on her road to recovery.

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.