A demolition firm is blaming Google Maps for causing them to level the wrong house in Rowlett, Texas. Workers say that Google Maps showed them a duplex located at 7601 Calypso Drive instead of the one located at 7601 Cousteau Drive, which they were supposed to destroy.
They texted screenshots of the erroneous Google Maps pin to the distraught homeowners, who had arrived home to discover only rubble in the place where their house had once stood.
So far, Google has made no statement on the matter. However, its terms of service say that users remain responsible for any actions they take based on Google Maps data, so it is unlikely that they will be held liable for any damages. Since the news broke, Google Maps has updated the erroneous location information for the address.
Somewhat embarrassingly for Google, its less-used competitors Apple Maps and Mapquest both had the correct listing for 7601 Cousteau Drive originally.
After a tornado hit in December, Billy L. Nabors Demolition was contracted to demolish a duplex that had been irreparably damaged. The house they knocked down instead, located just one block over, had also sustained some damage from the tornado, but the owners were told that damage could be fixed. They were waiting for insurance and possible FEMA assistance before they moved forward with repairs, they told local ABC news outlet, WFAA.
When the workers from the demolition firm arrived, they called their supervisor to confirm the house number before they started in with the wrecking ball. Crucially, however, they neglected to double-check the street name, relying only on what Google Maps had told them instead of looking at street signs. When interviewed, the firm’s CEO told WFAA that the mistake was “not a big deal” and that it will be sorted out by insurance.
However, for the homeowners, Lindsay Diaz and Alan Cutter, the mistake means more delays in getting back to their normal lives. Since the tornado, they had been living in a temporary rental house, awaiting repairs to their duplex. Now, they’ll likely be there much longer than anticipated.
The day of the incident, Diaz filed an information report with police to document what happened and is in the process of filing an insurance claim with Nabor’s provider. So far, she says, the company has not apologized and continues to blame Google Maps for the mistake.