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Contractor Says Collapsed Oakland House Was Accident Waiting To Happen, Inspectors Look For Violations

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) -- Cal/OSHA and city inspectors are investigating for potential violations by contractors after a North Oakland home collapsed Thursday, nearly crushing a person inside. A veteran contractor who examined this house told KPIX 5 that workers failed to brace the wall framing, which could have led to the collapse.

The collapse trapped Bubba Powell, a local homeless man who was hired by the contractor to keep squatters away. He was not seriously hurt.

A Marin County construction company bought the home last year for $430,000 to fix the home and flip it.

They lifted up the house and poured a new foundation, but neighbors said it was supported by some flimsy scaffolding.

Licensed contractor Juan Hernandez examined the house. He says the contractors who did the framing also failed to brace the 2x4 studs.

"They don't have the braces to support the temporary wall. They have to have a crossbar to support, for the wall to not move like this," Hernandez told KPIX 5.

Next door neighbor Michael Davies says work stopped on the house and it was left off the ground for the last five weeks.

Hernandez said that's way too long. "They just left it raised for too long. It was an accident waiting to happen," he said.

Contractor Tim Peterson told KPIX 5 there were braces, and he's not sure what happened to them, but he wouldn't answer any other questions. The city is investigating whether he had the right permit.

The collapse partially crushed part of Davies' home, causing it to be red-tagged by the city. Davies' said the contractor of the collapsed house offered to fix it. "He was saying, 'Well, looks like I'm gonna be fixing your house next.' And I said, 'I don't know, not the way yours was falling down'" he recalled.

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