Investigation continues into crumbling SF hillside

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The investigation continues into why a San Francisco hillside began to crumble, which forced one homeowner to demolish his house.

The investigation continues into why a San Francisco hillside began to crumble, which forced one homeowner to demolish his house.

It was supposed to be Ron Martell's dream home, but before he and his family could move in, it was lost.

A water logged hillside began shifting last week and his $2 million house had to be demolished on Casitas Avenue in San Francisco.

"Hopefully now that we've identified the root cause and begun the mitigation process for drying out the hill," said Martell.

He and his neighbors are convinced the root cause was an eight inch water main break up the street that the city capped this weekend.

Steven Ader lives next door to the now demolished home. The torrent of water shifted the earth beneath his place as well.

"The soil has slipped quite a lot in the back and the stairway is destroyed and out of order," said Ader.

Monday afternoon, the heads of the Department of Building Inspection and the Public Utilities Commission came out to the site.

They aren't sure if that water leak is the culprit and are continuing to investigate.

"We just want to make sure that's the only cause because if we fix it, we want to make sure everything is taken care of," explained Harlan Kelley, with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

There is good news for five neighbors, who were told to have testing done to see if their homes were at risk.

"They all came back saying no imminent danger on their house," said Tom Hui, with the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection.

On Tuesday, a well will be drilled on Martel's property to help take water off the hillside.

If the city's water pipe is to blame, officials say all the affected homeowners will be reimbursed.

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