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Owners Of Lake Whitney Cliffhanger House Devastated

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
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HILL COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) - A luxury house dangling over a fractured Lake Whitney cliff that fascinated people nation-wide is now a smoldering pile of rubble. A demolition crew razed it to the ground before it could slide off entirely into the water below.

Complete Coverage Of The Lake Whitney Cliff House

Dozens of boaters watched from the lake as the mansion was set ablaze. A demolition crew used hay and fuel to start the fire. Within minutes the roof was engulfed by flames and, as planned, the back part of the house crashed to the ground below.

See Photos From The House Fire

The demolition crew couldn’t get heavy equipment over the bridge leading into the housing development so they could tear the house down.

Thus, the only way to prevent the house from sliding into the lake was to burn it and then use lighter equipment to remove the debris.

“It burned,” said Tom Hemrick, the Hill County Emergency Coordinator. “It imploded. Now they’re able to go in there with the escavator and pull that material back out where they can work and haul it off and clean the site. It was really the best plan.”

“This happened and it’s hard to judge what went wrong,” said Bill Watson, who lives in the same community. “That’s for somebody else to figure out. The main thing is we’re just hoping the family is okay.”

The home owners, Robert and Denise Webb are ok — physically.

But they were emotionally devastated as they watched their retirement investment go up in smoke from their home in Florida.

They said the house and property were worth about $1 million and received a passing inspection by geologists when they bought the property in 2012

“And so we bought it in good faith,” Robert Webb said.

“It’s really tough… That house was special and I don’t even know why it was so special but it was special to me,” Denise Webb said.

The couple said the loss is a big blow to their retirement plans and that the insurance company probably won’t cover it.

They one day planned to give the house to their grandchildren.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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