91-year-old man's home demolished more than year after Hurricane Irma

City of Miami forced to demolish home after builder pulls out of project

MIAMI – It was Oscar Adderly's little corner of the world for 50 years. 

"[There's] nothing I can do," he said, except look on as a demolition crew went to work, tearing down his Northwest 49th Street home in Miami.

"I mean, I had no heads-up," said Adderly's daughter, Lorraine Williams. "Just the neighbors calling and letting me know what was going on."

Williams said she and her dad rushed over to their family home.

"I've never been dependent on nobody," Adderly said.

That all changed after Hurricane Irma. The storm sent his neighbor's tree crashing down onto his home.

At the time, he was 90 years old and had to move in with his daughter.

"If it wasn't for that tree, I would be living [here] and happy now," he said.

The "Leave it to Layron" team stepped in to help get the neighbor's tree off the house, but that presented another problem. Adderly was not insured, and his old house wasn't going to fix itself.

A local builder reached out to the LITL team after seeing Adderly's story and expressed an interest in helping the family for free.

"He was excited. We were excited," Williams said.

That builder later had to pull out of the project.

"And that took us way back, further than we were before," Williams said. "We had to start all over again."

In the months that followed, the city cited the home for being an "unsafe structure" and tagged the home for demolition. The damage was just too much to repair.

"I didn't know what was going on," Williams said. "No one contacted me. No paperwork, no nothing." 

City of Miami building officials told the LITL team that a letter was sent out last June, but the letter was returned to the city. 

A demolition order was issued in July. The project went up for bids, and the demolition crew showed up in early December.

"And it's going to [take] funds that we don't have to pay the city back, so how we're going to do that right now?" Williams asked.

Williams' concerns are for the lien the city could place on her father's property to pay for the demo.

Still, the family considers the demolition a blessing in disguise. 

"I'm glad they're tearing it down," Williams said. 

"Somebody can start something and start putting it back together," Adderly, who celebrated his 91st birthday in October, said.

Adderly said he looks forward to being able to stretch out and feel comfortable on his own front porch.

"We were happy," he said. "We were happy in this house."

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