8 homes evacuated, with 5 red-tagged after mudslide in Berkeley Hills

ByJ.R. Stone and Leslie Brinkley KGO logo
Tuesday, January 17, 2023
5 homes in Berkeley hills red-tagged after mudslide
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As of late Monday night, five houses remain red-tagged; one of those homes received extensive damage during the mudslide.

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Eight homes were evacuated due to a mudslide in the Berkeley Hills on Monday morning and residents of nearby neighborhoods have been warned to prepare to leave quickly if needed, fire officials said.

As of late Monday night, five houses remain red-tagged; one of those homes received extensive damage during the mudslide.

The Spiral, a short road off Wildcat Canyon Road remains closed due to the threat.

No injuries have been reported. About 20 residents were assisted by the Red Cross.

A map showing mudslide warnings in Berkeley.
A map showing mudslide warnings in Berkeley.

Residents in the area should be prepared to evacuate quickly if notified, Berkeley officials said.

Homeowner Marjorie Cruz cried as she told ABC7 News reporter Leslie Brinkley that her family had just refinished remodeling their house and it's hard to see it all go.

"We'll have to start again. You know it's scary," said Cruz.

She says her husband woke her up to tell her they had to get out as a wall of mud pushed into their living room.

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They escaped with their dog. The home is now red-tagged as emergency crews went door to door to warn other nearby residents to evacuate in the Park Hills neighborhood which is on a steep east-facing slope near Tilden Park.

Paul Chang a house below where this mudslide happened. He has also been red-tagged.

"I'm right next to their house, in fact if the mud keeps sliding, it will probably hit my house or maybe David's house down the street. I have tenants who live there and they called me this morning saying that they've been evacuated," said Chang.

Red and white rocks marked the movement of the mud hour by hour. Officials fear the mud could keep moving downhill.

Berkeley firefighters say they are making progress.

"There was a broken water pipe high up in the area where the mudslide started. I put an extender on that pipe and redirected the water away from the slide and the slide impact," said Interim Deputy Chief of Berkeley Fire Keith May. At one point in the daytime, a broken water pipe at a higher elevation on the Zaytuna College property was leaking 5 to 10 gallons of water a minute onto the slide area according to May.

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As to the timetable on when the red-tags could come off:

"It's hard to say until that earth stops moving. I know when our fire crews got on scene first they could still hear creaking of some of those out buildings so it's still not safe without them," said May.

Officials tell us geologists will work with building inspectors and those from Zaytuna College to figure out when the area is safe again.

In a separate mudslide, UC Berkeley police say to avoid the area of Sports Lane at the Clark Kerr campus.

Since Dec. 30, there have been more than 400 landslides across the state, with the majority in the Bay Area and Santa Cruz mountains.

Bay City News Service contributed to this article.

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