Thursday, March 12, 2009 | 4:05 p.m.
Implosions and rebuilds are nothing new for Las Vegas, in terms of casinos and resorts. But when a residential home comes down in a single day, it can draw a neighborhood crowd — especially when it's going to be featured on national TV.
Dozens of volunteers and spectators gathered Thursday at 5760 Royal Castle Lane in Las Vegas to watch the demolition of the home of Chuck and Terri Cerda's family for ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”
The Cerdas' home was chosen by the television show because their house was threatening the lives of their two young daughters, who have extremely fragile immune systems because of Combined Immune Deficiency Disease, where the common cold could land them in the hospital with a major lung infection.
The crew began tearing the house down in the early morning hours after a ceremonious march to the site.
Ted Foley, of Las Vegas, who is a project manager for a commercial construction company, is one of the volunteers helping the team of show host Ty Pennington. Foley said he had been outside watching the demolition from across the street since 8:30 a.m.
“At 12:30 p.m. today once this is all cleared out they’ll start to bring crews in and start tearing out the concrete and set up a new foundation and hopefully start framing by 9 o’clock tonight,” he said.
Foley said he decided to volunteer because he had worked for Habitat for Humanity through his church and he always liked to help out.
Another volunteer, Las Vegas resident Maria Bengtson, said she was really impressed with the dedication of the volunteers at the site, considering the economic conditions in Las Vegas.
“It’s just amazing, honestly when you look around," Bengston said, talking about how many volunteers there were. She said one of her friends who was laid off from Wynn Las Vegas was volunteering for the 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. shift Thursday night into Friday morning. Other volunteers are construction workers who are idle now and have time to volunteer, she said.
“And if you look around that’s the coolest thing at something like this,” she said.
The house was completely taken down to the ground by about 11 a.m. and the crew quickly went to work to clear the debris. The Cerda family, currently vacationing in Maui while their house is being rebuilt, will return to their new home next Tuesday.
ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” airs at 8 p.m. Sundays.
Bengston was watching the demolition from the driveway across the street from the house, with the rest of the blue-shirted volunteers, who cheered on the crew as each roof tile and beam fell to the ground.
“The biggest demolitions I’ve seen are the implosions on the Strip," she said. "You know, we were talking about that maybe they should’ve imploded it, but you don’t get quite the drama.”