NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA.com) — When the high tide came rolling in, the impact of one mistake came flooding into a Newport Beach neighborhood.
A seawall at 36th and Finley in Newport Beach was accidentally torn down by a private contracting crew Wednesday, clearing the way for the high tide to lap up to the garages and front doors of million-dollar homes and cause flood damage to at least one car.
According to a city spokesperson, the contracting crew tore down a brick planter at a home that — unbeknownst to the crew or homeowner — had been acting as a seawall.
“A private contractor performed demolition work at a private residence last week and removed a brick planter,” city spokesperson Mary Locey said in an email Thursday to CBS2. “It appears that brick planter was acting as a sea wall to hold back the tides. The contractor is working with the homeowner and the City to implement a permanent repair to the damaged sea wall.”
The crew apparently thought the seawall was above the water line.
“People that don’t live down here don’t understand things like that,” neighbor Dee Williams said. “We have high tide, and you know, that’s what these sea walls are meant for – to keep the water down.”
City crews rushed to the neighborhood to pump water from streets and firefighters were called out to put sandbags in place of the missing seawall. City crews Thursday were using 1,500 sandbags to make a temporary barrier while a more permanent solution is determined.
Firefighters were knee deep in water at one point while putting up the temporary wall.
No evacuations were ordered, but at least one resident made the best of a watery situation.
City officials were working feverishly Thursday to build a more stable and protective temporary seawall before the 9:30 p.m. high tide comes in.