Officials: Telegraph Hill still unsafe after rockslide

A rockslide near San Francisco's Telegraph Hill has crushed a car and caused the partial evacuation of an apartment building (Monday, January 23, 2012).

January 24, 2012 5:07:47 PM PST
Some Telegraph Hill residents have been wondering when they can go home after a rockslide forced them to evacuate on Monday.

Engineers and geologists examined the San Francisco hillside Tuesday to see if it was safe to return and by evening, the director of public works reported that the hillside was still unstable and that more rocks would fall. He said they would remove the smaller rocks, but leave the big boulders because they help protect the building.

Concrete K-rail barriers were being used to keep boulders secure and away from the apartment building there, but city engineers and geologists are also concerned with what is at the top of the hill. On Tuesday, inspectors examined both Lombard Street, which leads to Coit Tower, and a house that sits directly above the crumbling hillside. They found no cracks in the road and decided it and was safe.

"They check for the stability of the road. Right now, they're checking for the stability of the roadway, the specifics of the rock formations and what kind of damage, if there was any kind of damage that was done from the incident yesterday," explained Gloria Chan with the Department of Public Works.

Heavy rain may have caused the slide which damaged a parked car. No one was hurt, but a few residents were evacuated.

"A little bit of concern. I talked to a police officer yesterday and he was saying that they're going to stay around and watch, in case they have to evacuate the building if things got any worse," resident Madeline Koutnik said.

Dawn Walker lives on the side closest to the hill and says she will stay in the building. "Yeah, we probably will unless it gets too noisy when they start removing the rocks and stuff," she said.

"Yesterday, there were three units that were yellow-tagged. Today, based on this evaluation, the experts are going to regroup with some of the building inspectors and decide whether to continue the yellow tag or lift that yellow tag," Chan said.

Residents that were evacuated Monday will be allowed back inside the building, but they will be advised against sleeping inside their units. Officials are still working on a plan to repair the hillside.