Oakland firefighters rescue surveyor looking at mudslide

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Tuesday a geological surveyor was taking a close look at a mudslide that happened in the back yard of a home, when he got stuck in it. (KGO-TV)

In Oakland, a man is safe after getting stuck in a pile of mud. The man was surveying a mudslide on Oak Hill Road near Sequoyah View Drive in the Oakland Hills Tuesday afternoon when he got trapped. Firefighters rushed to the scene to pull him to safety and the man was uninjured.

The hillside first collapsed during last Friday's storm. The owner of the house thought his home was going to slide down the hill.

Homeowner Kevin Best told ABC7 News, "And just as I was looking out the window, I saw the hillside and the trees all going down toward the creek."

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The hillside around Best's Oakland home slid away, early Friday morning, exposing his foundation. A city engineer determined the foundation is still holding, but it isn't putting Best's mind at ease, especially since his insurance company doesn't cover natural mudslides.

"We're certainly afraid that without an infrastructure under the house, we're going to have some problems," Best said.

So Best hired a geological survey team. At first the slide zone which is about 100 feet long and 40 feet wide appeared to be stable. Then Tuesday afternoon one of the surveyors got swallowed up to his waist in mud.

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"And he couldn't pull himself out. The guy was holding on to a tree root trying to get out," Best said.

Firefighters dipped a 60-foot ladder into the mud which has the consistency of quick sand.

Oakland Fire Batt. Chief Coy Justice said, "Once we dug around his feet and no more mud came in to trap him, he was able to climb on the ladder and climb right out."

A soil engineer says a steady flow of water gushing out of the slide zone could hold the key. If the water is tested and contains chlorine there's serious leak.

Manmade or natural, the concern is that this slide could affect more than just one home up there.

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Related Topics:
weatherel ninobay arearainstormwinter stormmudslidestorm damagerescuefirefighterslandslidehomeownersOaklandOakland Hills
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