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Slide Forces Evacuation of 3 North Tustin Homes

February 26, 2005|Sara Lin | Times Staff Writer

As storm-damaged Laguna Canyon Road reopened for the first time in six days Friday morning, county firefighters in unincorporated north Tustin evacuated three homes after a rain-soaked hillside began moving.

The slow-moving slide broke a water main, damaged a backyard pool and caused Overhill Drive to buckle, said Capt. Stephen Miller with the Orange County Fire Authority. The intersection of Deerhaven and Overhill drives in Cowan Heights remained closed Friday night.

Two homes on Deerhaven Drive and one on Overhill were evacuated early Friday, but residents of the hilly community of custom-built homes were allowed to return in the afternoon.

Although two homeowners watched portions of their backyards sink 3 to 4 feet, Miller said, none of the homes had been damaged.

Firefighters discovered the sliding of the 50-foot slope after a resident reported a stream of mud and water had flooded his garage about 6 a.m. Friday. Firefighters unclogged a storm drain and discovered a water main break and the landslide.

Slides can occur weeks or months after rains as water slowly seeps into hillsides, making them heavy and prone to fail, said Doug Morton, with the U.S. Geological Survey in Riverside.

"Six months from now, especially if we get some more rains, you could expect to have more landslides," he said.

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