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Landslide forces San Bernardino County couple from hillside home

April 23, 2013|By Joseph Serna

A San Bernardino County couple had to evacuate their home Tuesday when a freak landslide swept away part of the hill under the structure.

A giant section of earth -- about 30 feet wide, 15 feet long and 150 feet deep -- collapsed beneath a Grand Terrace hillside home shortly before 8 a.m., authorities said.

The ground beneath the expansive home’s garage and rear patio slid down the 300-foot cliff the home rests on, said San Bernardino County fire Capt. Ed Noble. The patio and garage, however, did not actually collapse.

A bystander in the shopping center parking lot facing the rear of the home called authorities, Noble said.

The two people who were inside the home at the time had no idea what had happened, he said. The home has since been condemned.

The homeowners were allowed back inside Tuesday afternoon to claim some of their belongings. The pair have hired a geological and structural engineer to evaluate the home’s safety.

It's possible the landslide may have been caused by a ruptured water pipe beneath the home, Noble said. Water could be seen leaking from beneath the home, and as soon as firefighters shut off the water to the house, the leak stopped.

Or, Noble said, “The water pipe could’ve broken because of the landslide. We don’t know. I’m not going down there.”

Because of the location of the home, no other nearby houses had to be evacuated.

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Joseph.serna@latimes.com

@josephserna

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