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Landslide endangers 33 homes on Washington state's Whidbey Island

March 27, 2013|By Michael Muskal

About 33 houses, many summer or weekend getaways, are in danger after a major landslide hit Whidbey Island in the state of Washington.

No injuries have been reported by the slide of mud and debris that rolled through the area near Alderwood Street and South Fircrest Avenue just after 4 a.m. Wednesday, officials told local news media outlets.

Officials were not immediately available for further comment because they were at the scene, spokesmen said by telephone.

The slide took out a road, Driftwood Way, which is closest to the water, isolating 16 homes, Island County Sheriff Mark C. Brown told KOMO television. Seventeen other homes are threatened by the slide, which is continuing to move, he said.

The island is in Puget Sound, about 50 miles north of Seattle.

At least one house has been severely damaged, officials said.

"It's possible more homes could be lost. We're trying to ensure the safety and awareness of people," Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue Chief Ed Hartin told local reporters. "There's not anything we can do to stop the movement of the ground."

A relief center for displaced residents has been established at a community center, Brown said.

The cause of the slide will be investigated.

"It must have just been moisture in the ground that accumulated," Brown said.

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