Sunday, 29 March 2015

Homes in danger after landslide strikes cliff in Des Moines, Washington

March 2015 – DES MOINES, WA - A landslide Friday afternoon endangered three homes overlooking Puget Sound in Des Moines, damaging at least one of them. The homes were evacuated and no injuries were reported after the slide north of Saltwater State Park, South King Fire Lt. Jeff Bellinghausen said. The slide happened just before 4 p.m. along the bluff at 25100 8th Place S., according to South King Fire Department officials. A homeowner noticed the ground moving around 8:30 a.m. on Friday, and occupants were able to get valuables out of their homes before leaving. It wasn’t until mid-afternoon that the man’s backyard virtually disappeared. “Well it’s awful of course, I hate to see it, I feel bad for the neighbors,” Dorn Porter said. Most neighbors who live close by say they had no idea anything had happened until they saw emergency responders, and Air 4 hovering above their houses.
At 200-feet across, and 2000-feet down, it will take several days to figure out what caused the slide, and for the land to stop moving. South King County deputies say they’ll be monitoring the area throughout the night, and more evacuations are possible. “They just seem to start, and bang, it’s gone and it’s over and you do what can to shore yourself up,” Porter said. The area was already considered a “sensitive critical area,” officials said. There have been smaller slides in the past, but nothing as extreme as Friday’s slide. “We knew this wasn’t something usual, wasn’t a normal event,” Elisa Dawn Harrison said. Harrison was at the park below when she caught part of the slide on camera. “I just feel bad for anyone who has to go through this.” No injuries were reported, but the community worries what may come next. The back deck slid down a hill, and trees and dirt continued to fall down to the beach below. Crews were at the scene to assess the risk of further damage, Bellinghausen said. –Seattle Times

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