SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA) – Several homes in a Santa Clarita neighborhood are at risk of collapse due to a landslide that has developed over the past week, as officials look for answers regarding what is causing the scary situation.
The Estrada family, who live on Terri Drive — on a hillside above Trestles Drive near Soledad Canyon Road — told CBS2 Friday that they first discovered cracks in the brick of their backyard patio on Monday. Since then, the earth in the backyard has continued to give way. Half of the yard has dropped about five feet. A palm tree in the middle of the yard split in half and is being held up by a rope.
“We can just hear the tree, you can hear it crackling, it’s about to fall, we tethered it over there,” Stephanie Estrada told CBS2.
The property’s irrigation pipes have busted and the city has already turned off the gas.
The Estradas told CBS2 that on Thursday, Los Angeles County firefighters who came out to inspect the home encouraged the family to move. According to Stephanie, firefighters also advised three of their neighbors, along with five more homeowners who live in the Trestles community at the bottom of the hillside, to voluntarily evacuate as well.
The Estrada family spent Thursday night away from the home, but their next-door neighbor awoke to find the land had shifted even more.
“Came out just as the sun was coming up, and saw that it dropped another two or three feet, and that the tree was definitely going to go down,” said neighbor Fred Lindgren, whose lived in the neighborhood more than three decades.. “Never seen anything like it, to be honest with you. Kinda scary.”
City of Santa Clarita building and safety inspectors who were out Friday inspecting the properties had no immediate comment. It’s unclear if the Estrada home was being red-tagged. Their homeowners association was expected to send someone out to cut down the tree and put up sandbags to slow the erosion down below.
The Estrada family told CBS2 that their neighborhood was built in the 1980s, while the Trestles development below was constructed only five years ago. They speculate as to whether the recent slew of heavy storms coupled with the newer construction may have helped cause the erosion and landslide.
“We just want some communication, we just want to know what’s going to happen,” Stephanie said. “Where are we supposed to go? What are we supposed to do?”
Meanwhile, the Estradas were doing what they could to help others, even moving out the belongings of a neighbor who was on vacation.
Friday evening, KCAL9’s Hermela Aregawi spoke to a man staying in the home next door. The home belongs to Bill Wilson’s in-laws and they are the ones who have been out-of-town.
“I feel sorry for my sister-in-law and all the things she’s going to have to go through. This is not going to be settled over night so I don’t know who is going to be responsible.” Wilson said.
By Friday evening, both homes had been officially yellow-tagged.
Also neighbors to the Estradas, Deborah Gulack whose yard collapsed. Fortunately, her home has not been tagged.
“It’s just heartbreaking. It’s scary. Your home has always been something you can count on and all of a sudden, now you can’t,” Gulack says.