Boulder Smashes Into Home in San Diego County

The giant rock missed the home's propane tank by 12 feet

A large boulder rolled into a house in a San Diego County suburb Thursday morning, crashing into the home's garage, fire authorities said.

Authorities were called to the home in Poway, northeast of San Diego, at about 9:30 a.m. on a day when a cold winter storm had moved across the region.

The 6-foot-by-6-foot rock appeared to have rolled down a hill, ripping through a tree before coming to a stop inside the garage of the home in the 13700 block of Vian Road (map).

Resident JeNielle Rose-Gendelman has lived in the home for 54 years and was in the room next to the garage when she heard the loud crash.

"I went into the garage and I saw the washing machine on the floor and then I looked over and saw the rock and couldn’t believe it," she said.

Rose-Gendelman said her dog typically sleeps in the garage, but was fortunately inside the house with her at the time.

"It’s a big mess, and a big boulder, and I don’t know how it’s going to get out," she said through tears. "I mean, how incredible! I haven’t even had time to call my friends and ask them to pray for me."


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Coincidentally, this is the second boulder that has rolled near Rose-Gendelman's house. The first one was smaller and didn't damage any structures, unlike this one.

Crews said Thursday's boulder missed the propane tank outside the home by about 12 feet. However, the rock did snap a water pipe. An inspector told NBC San Diego that the water main is broken. 

Kevin Hitchcock, Poway Fire Department division chief, said he did not know where the boulder came from. Up the hill, though, a trail of crushed debris led to another boulder.

"All of a sudden this boulder started coming down, but no cause, I have no idea why that rock would have come down today," Hitchcock said.

Fire crews became concerned about a strong odor coming from the home shortly after they arrived. They said it was a mix of gasoline, pesticides and propane, possibly mixed by the many broken pipes in the rock's path.

The common pesticide malathion was spilled in the garage near where the boulder was resting. A Hazmat crew was putting bleach on the substance to neutralize it.

This isn't the first time Southern Californians have seen this kind of dangerous scenario. In January 2010, a boulder crashed into a Vista home. 

Also, in February 2000, a huge boulder smashed into a Rancho San Diego house during heavy rains. The 140-ton boulder did so much damage it took days for crews to remove it by drilling holes in the granite and breaking it up into smaller pieces.

The area was heavily impacted by Thursday's rain storm, which soaked the area and left the ground unstable. 

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