December 10, 2011

Cannonball! Not in the pool, through your house!

Here’s another problem to worry about while you’re househunting.  You already knew about busy streets, railroad tracks, airports, and high-voltage power lines.  Did you also check to make sure that Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters production crew isn’t firing cannonballs on a nearby artillery range? 

Thanks very much to Burbed reader Real Alex for alerting us to this unique location fail.

Mythbusters Accidentally Shoot House

The cannonball that caused the damage came from the popular show "Mythbusters."

By Mathew Luschek, |  Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011  |  Updated 9:11 AM PST

A projectile from an Alameda County firing range in Dublin  accidentally missed its intended target, said JD Nelson, the public information officer for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. Instead, the object blasted through the wall of a home near Tassajara Road and Somerset Lane.

The projectile reportedly entered the home through one wall and exited through another. It also damaged a vehicle in the neighborhood.

According to the Alameda Sheriff, the cannonball "took a few unfortunate bounces" during a "Mythbusters" experiment gone awry.

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The softball-sized cannonball was fired off at the Alameda County Sheriff’s office bomb disposal range in Dublin, on a US Army Combat range next to Santa Rita Jail.  The ball should have hit a row of barrels full of water, which would have reduced its momentum. 

Instead, the cannon misfired, the 30 pound shot missed the barrels and bounced off the hillside surrounding the firing range.  This launched it toward homes in the Tassajara Creek neighborhood 700 yards away.

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The blasted ball traveled right through this Cassata Place house (shown by the blue pin on the map above), smashing through the front door, internal walls, and out the back.  Note that despite the front door entry, the peripatetic plus-sized pellet propelled itself UP THE STAIRS and departed from the second floor. 

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Residents of the house slept through the whole thing, woken by the settling plaster dust.

From there the pitiless projectile propagated across six-lane Tassajara Road, repeatedly bounced off Ming Jiang’s tiled roof on Bellevue Circle (shown by the red pin in the map above), then went through the window of Jasbir Gill’s minivan on Springvale Drive (green pin), smashed the dashboard and came to rest inside.  Gill had been in the Toyota Sienna with his 13 year old son just ten minutes before the incident.  The County Sheriff’s office took both minivan and cannonball as evidence.

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Homes in this neighborhood are valued from $550K to $680K and are about ten years old.  ZEstimates suggest that they are currently worth what they were selling for when they were built in 2000 and 2001, with peak ZEstimates at an even million back in December, 2005.  This Streetview picture of Gill’s Springvale Drive home also caught the doomed Toyota Sienna, long before its cannonball contact.

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imageAs of this writing, nobody from Mythbusters would return calls to media.   Host Adam Savage hung up on a San Francisco Chronicle reporter.

Meanwhile, a tweet sent on Tuesday by Mythbusters co-host Grant Imahara (photo at right), mentioning the planned cannon experiments, was scrubbed along with the photo it had linked to.

Mythbusters has been using the firing range/bomb disposal area for the past eight years without incident.  While the show is San Francisco-based, their artillery experiments are not.  Just one more reason to stick to the Real Bay Area when looking for a house!

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imageUpdate: Looks like the Mythbusters stars, hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, visited the neighborhood in person and promised to make repairs to all affected properties.  They also promised not to fire any more cannonballs at the firing range, saying they would use a range in the Gold Country for their “can a cannonball breach a castle wall” experiments.  The Dublin range is shut while the County Sheriff’s office reviews the incident.

Given that these are Bay Area castles, the answer to whether a cannonball can breach a castle wall is obviously yes.  Myth confirmed!

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

7 Responses to “Cannonball! Not in the pool, through your house!”

  1. nomadic Says:

    Does anyone else wonder why a couple and their kid were sleeping at 4:15pm?

    Here’s an alternate take on the incident, with blow-by-blow video:
    http://www.wired.com/underwire/2011/12/mythbusters-taiwanese-animation/

  2. SEA Says:

    Sleeping, but immediately noticed dust? blow-by-blow video?

    How about we just call it Afternoon Delight.

  3. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    Afternoon delight WITH THEIR KID? Ew.

  4. SEA Says:

    Not quite what I was thinking, but who knows…

  5. Real Alex Says:

    Nice article burbed!

  6. Mole Man Says:

    The important thing is what this does to the equity of these homes. If firing cannonballs through homes actually adds value in the long run then we may have a whole new way of dealing with pent up foreclosed inventory.

  7. Divasm Says:

    On the news I saw a crib set up as a cosleeper next to the Master bed. We currently have a newborn infant at home and today all of us took a nap at 3pm, so I’m betting they were grabbing sleep when they could.


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