SACRAMENTO - Neighbors who've complained for years about a nuisance house on their street watched a wrecking crew reduce it to a pile of debris in less than five minutes.
"It's been a long time coming," said neighborhood watch captain Charlene Crabb, who lives within sight of the house on Cotton Lane on the extreme southern edge of Sacramento.
The two-bedroom house was purchased by notorious Sacramento property owner Raghvendra "Raj" Singh out of foreclosure in 2009 for $45,000.
Sacramento code compliance operations manager Ron O'Connor said the city had been fighting with Singh, 51, almost from the beginning to bring the house into compliance.
"He puts people's lives in danger," O'Connor said. "We had to do something. This house wasn't getting fixed."
O'Connor said Singh fought the demolition order up to the last minute with an emergency court hearing Friday morning. Within hours of the judge giving the city the green light, a demolition crew arrived to knock down the house.
Kathy Rohrbach, who lives directly across the street from Singh's house, toasted the wrecking crew with a glass of wine.
"It's just a joyful day for our neighborhood to have this down and gone because Mr. Singh has been a totally negligent property owner," she said. "I feel sorry for anybody else who has him as a property owner in their neighborhood, because it's been awful."
O'Connor said there was evidence people had been living in the house with Singh's permission despite posted notices and plywood on the doors and windows.
Similar circumstances led to the death of a woman in a boarded-up house owned by Singh on Stockton Boulevard that caught fire in December.
At the time, Singh told News10 he allowed tenants to live in the house to prevent vandalism.
News10's analysis of property records has identified roughly two-dozen homes or vacant parcels of land owned by Singh in the Sacramento area -- most of them paid for in cash, and none of them held in his name.
O'Connor estimated over $100,000 in liens would be placed on the Cotton Lane property for penalties, fees and the cost of demolition.