Demolition ordered after tunnels discovered under home

Montgomery County says the tunnels make the home unsafe.

BETHESDA, MD. (WUSA9) - Montgomery County is ordering the demolition of a home in Bethesda after discovering tunnels underneath it which threaten its “support and stability." This is from a letter sent by Montgomery County which was obtained by WUSA9's Bruce Leshan. The tunnels were discovered after a fatal fire at the home in September 2017.

According to the letter, the building was deemed unsafe due to “deep excavation and extensive network of tunneling and bunkers extending from under and out from the structure.”

The letter also gave details on the “hoarding condition” present in the home, which also came to light following the September fire. According to the letter, the home contains “saturated materials” and “human excrement.”

VIDEO: Bethesda man dies in house fire, police say home was in 'hoarding condition'

The current occupant of the home, David Beckwitt, is appealing the order.

The fire began around 4:30 p.m. on 5200 block of Danbury road on September 29, 2017. Bruce Leshan, who lives near the home, called 911 and then entered the home where he encountered Beckwitt. "He didn't have a shirt on, he's got dirt all over his body. He's obviously completely freaked out and he says 'I think he's in there, I think he's in there," Leshan said.

When police arrived, discovered the body of a man, Askia Khafra, in one of the tunnels, prompting the later order of demolition. Beckwitt, 31, was transferred to the hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.

Four months after the fire, mystery still surrounds this home. There is no word yet on how Khafra died, what started the fire, or if any charges are pending. The fire department says its investigation is complete, but they are waiting for the police department to finish its investigation before releasing any new information to the public. 

© 2018 WUSA-TV


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