Hillslide Damages Bonita Home

By R. Stickney
|  Thursday, Mar 25, 2010  |  Updated 6:27 AM PDT
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Hill Collapse Damages Homes in Bonita

NBCSanDiego.com

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Hill Collapse Damages Homes in Bonita

A hillside gave way on Timrick Lane in Bonita, sending a wall of dirt and debris into the backyards of two homes.
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A Bonita homeowner got a very strange call from his wife Wednesday morning:  the hillside behind their home was on the move and headed right for the house.

Gary  Flanagan rushed home to find dirt coming over his retaining wall in his backyard on Timrick Lane. His wife had heard a cracking outside in the back and she saw that the hill was moving and looked up above and saw that the neighbor's back wall was gone.

That was just after 7:30 a.m.

According to Flanagan, the hillside moved pretty steadily until around noon, then it let up and then several hours later it started moving again.

A building in his neighbor's yard, at the top of the hillside, appears to be cracked. Several palm trees -- some as tall as 30 feet -- are sliding.

Slowly throughout the day, the hill moved more and pushed against the back wall of Flanagan's home.

“Maybe a couple of feet an hour to where it’s up against the house now,” said Flanagan around 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Trees now leaning over near his family room used to be about 30 feet up the hill.

County building inspectors, the Bonita Sunnyside Fire Department, insurance agents, builders, excavators and a couple of geologists arrived at the home to check conditions and offer up some information. County officials red tagged the home, meaning no one can occupy it.

The firefighters were great, Flanagan said, helping the family move some of their things out so they could stay somewhere else tonight.

“It’s one of those things you have to watch happen, let it happen and then figure out how to deal with it after that,” Flanagan said.

“We’ll deal with it each day that we have to,” he said.

Flanagan, his wife and their two sons have lived in the home since 1998. When they purchased the home, the area at the top of the hill was a vacant lot. Two years later, his neighbor built the home at the top of the hillside.  Then, a swimming pool and game house were built right on the property line according to Flanagan.

The home to the south of Flanagan's was yellow tagged by county inspectors. That home doesn't look to be damaged he said, but has big cracks on the property.
 

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