Home totaled in mix-up

A demolition crew rolled its bulldozer up the wrong side of Ruddell Street last week, leaving Francis Howard with a big hole in the front of her longtime family home.

Howard, 69, lives with her son in Frisco. She said another woman, who was digging irises in the flower beds Wednesday, tried to stop the crew before the porch and the front of the house came tumbling down.

The crew was supposed to be tearing down 721 Ruddell, the house across the street.

“I don’t have the words to say,” Howard said.

According to city records, Denton’s Construction and Advisory Appeals Board ordered in January that house either be repaired or demolished. In the past six years, city code enforcement officers have found six violations there, including high grass and weeds, outside storage, junked vehicles and failure to secure the structure.

Howard is having trouble figuring out what to do next. According to city records, her home also was in front of the Construction and Advisory Appeals Board on April 15, but she had pledged to repair it by July 15. Cabrales said the clock is still ticking on that deadline, but she could ask for an extension.

Howard’s house number — 724 — and a “no trespassing” sign still hung prominently on her half-standing structure Monday morning. The house was her family’s home for 47 years.

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