Keys house tumbles from crane, crushes boat

Builder Bill Daniels checks out the damage to the fallen house. The crushed boat is between the house and crane, to the rear.
Builder Bill Daniels checks out the damage to the fallen house. The crushed boat is between the house and crane, to the rear.


A mini sinkhole caused a modular home set to be placed on its pilings to topple and crush a boat on an adjacent lot in Marathon.

Half of the three-bedroom, two-bath house was attached to a crane and being swung into place on Calzada De Bougainvillea, near Sombrero Beach, when a pad stabilizing the crane gave way because of the roughly five-foot-deep patch of loose soil.

The sinkhole caused the house, which belongs to Edward and Kerri Worthington, to topple to the left and fall on top of a boat being stored on an adjacent dry lot owned by Edward's father, Pete Worthington, a former city councilman.

Bill Daniels, owner of Modular Homes of the Florida Keys, said no one was hurt in Friday’s toppling and that human error didn't cause the house to fall. He sold the house to the Worthingtons and it was being put in place using a Key West Welding and Fabrication crane.

"The important thing is we'll fix it,” he said. “It will be set and we'll get them in by June 1. That's the goal."

Daniels said workers still planned to install the second half of the house on Friday.

"We're going to pick [up the fallen half] and take a look at it. We'll probably take it back to the factory and rebuild it or build a new one," he said.

Edward Worthington watched the incident unfold.

"They put it down really easy,” he said. “It wasn't like a drop; it was all in slow motion. The crane operator did as best he could."

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