Growing mudslide prompts two Moraga families to evacuate homes

Byby Cornell Barnard via KGO logo
Monday, March 14, 2016
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A growing landslide has forced two families to evacuate their homes in Moraga and some residents are blaming EBMUD for not doing more to prevent it.

MORAGA, Calif. (KGO) -- A growing mudslide has forced two families to evacuate their homes in Moraga.

The hillside continues to slide away, putting the homes and others in jeopardy.

According to homeowners, the problem didn't just start with the storm. They said it started in January when a lower portion of the hill slid into San Pablo Creek.

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One of the families was forced to leave after the foundation and floors of the home buckled, causing the back deck to collapse completely.

East Bay Municipal Utility District owns the area behind the homes, so many of the homeowners are blaming the utility company for not doing more to prevent landslides.

Neighbors are pitching in to help the families move clothes and belongings out of their homes, which are now dangerous to live in. "We all just want everyone to know they're in our prayers and blessings and we're trying to get their stuff moved and valuables as quick as possible," Tanya Guaco said.

"It's impressive. I've never seen Earth move like that," Tim Alford said.

Alford's home is hanging by a thread. A small mudslide, which began last Tuesday below his house has now claimed much of the hill and ripped his home's foundation away, leaving it in shambles. "It's been a sort of slow motion process, but it's dropping numerous feet a day," Alford said.

The house next door is also in bad shape as the mudslide is swallowing Earth below the home. "It's fallen another four to five feet overnight and It's really getting precarious," one man said.

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Nearby homeowners are worried that they could be next. "We're just watching in fear," Laura Burgerson said.

Burgerson said EBMUD owns the hillside. She and others are blaming the utility for not doing more to prevent mudslides after a small one happened in the area several months ago. "To think that a utility would know something like this was a possibility and to not warn the community about it, seems really negligent," she said.

EBMUD said a recent study never warned of more mudslide danger. "We are certainly working with the homeowners there as far as all those specifics. I think right now what we're focused on is the immediate situation, you know these slides occur throughout the Bay Area and it's difficult when Mother Nature has plans that don't align with others," EBMUD spokesperson Andrea Pook said.

EBMUD said it plans to bring geo-technical experts in to decide the best course of action to keep this area safe.

Residents don't know when they will be able to return to their homes.

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In Calaveras County, a flood watch is in effect through Monday morning for the Butte Fire burn scar area as excessive rainfall has increased the chances of mud and rock slides.

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