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First House Destroyed in O.C. Slide to Be Razed

June 20, 2005|Dave McKibben | Times Staff Writer

The first of a dozen of the houses destroyed in the Laguna Beach landslide will be razed today.

A private contractor will begin peeling back the layers of Robert Power's three-level house on Bluebird Canyon Drive because Power said he could not wait for the city to begin tearing down the destroyed homes.

His house was so badly flattened in the June 1 slide that Power said he has been unable to retrieve anything from it. He believes that the demolition process will make it possible for him or workers to retrieve vital items.

"I'm a little anxious," said Power, 71, a tax specialist. "I have 300 clients and I need to get to my computer, the hard drive and all those files. I also want to get to my safe."

Todd MacCallum, a spokesman for the Bluebird Canyon Homeowners Assn. and the owner of a yellow-tagged home, said it was unclear when the city would begin razing the other 11 homes that are scheduled for demolition.

"I know they want to start as soon as they can," MacCallum said. "But they haven't even hired the demo contractor yet."

City officials could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Power and his wife, Joan, have been living in a friend's bungalow since the slide. Eighteen families were allowed to return home last week and several more are likely to move back today. Twenty-four other homes remain red- or yellow-tagged.

Demolition of Power's home could take up to a week, he said.

"The roof's got to come off first and then hopefully we'll try to pull the floor of the top level off too," he said.

"We'll just peel things back and hopefully we won't drop stuff on them and damage anything else."

Initially, the couple had talked about moving to Nevada, but Power said they might try to rebuild. "We may have a little more land now than we did before," he said. "It's just flatter and a little more boring."

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