By Greg Argos


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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There is growing fear Wednesday among some homeowners in a Philadelphia neighborhood that they could lose everything. It’s all because of shoddy work by a contractor that officials say could cause a chain-reaction disaster.

One home is now teetering on the brink on Tulip Street in Olde Richmond.

A nice start to the day turned into quite the mess for neighbors in Olde Richmond Monday morning.

“I came out with a cup of coffee and saw five guys coming out of the back door and eight guys running out of the basement cell door,” one resident said.

That was from what is now a pile of bricks, but was once a home on the 2600 block of Tulip Street.

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Licences and Inspections says a contractor without proper permits started demolishing the building, damaging the foundation in the process, and created an unstable home on the verge of collapse.

“Before you know it, bingo, bango,” a neighbor said. “You’d actually think an earthquake took place.”

Tuesday, investigators removed the rest of the building, but the damage to the home next door is done — a gaping hole in the basement, the wall missing and a bright orange sign, a clear indicator the home is unsafe to live in.

“Now if this house comes down, it’s going to compromise the structure of the next house, because the joists are tied in together,” a neighbor said.

That’s the concern for next-door neighbor James Gormley, who says they’re checking for cracks and worried their homes will soon suffer damage.

“I got a bad leg man. I can’t be climbing up and down the stairs every ten minutes, you know. I’ve got my other problems,” Gormley said.

The latest demolition disaster comes just five weeks and one day from an eerily similar situation in nearby Fishtown.

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Workers without permits caused damage to the next-door home. Licences and Inspections tried carefully demolishing both, but the houses collapsed in a plume of smoke.

Right now, the home next door is standing, of course. A Licenses and Inspections spokesperson says they’re evaluating the home to see if there is any hope in saving it.

Eyewitness News reached out to the owner’s family members, but have not heard back.