California

Land Under ‘Casa Romantica' in San Clemente Begins Crumbling

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A cliff beneath the historic Casa Romantica in San Clemente is crumbling, disrupting Metro service from Orange to San Diego counties.

There have been a number of compromised hillsides in the area over the past couple weeks.

Metrolink services at four stations from Laguna Niguel to Oceanside have been halted temporarily.

Dirt and debris began sliding down around 1 p.m. Thursday, and now a major cleanup is underway.

San Clemente’s city councilmember Victor Cabral says the city knew the ground was moving. On April 16, the cultural center reported large cracks in its patio. Engineers and geologists were brought out.

"Each day it dropped several inches today at about 1 p.m. it dropped out 25 feet," Cabral said.

The landslide also impacted a condo building next door. The entire building was red- tagged most of the condos in the 30 unit building are vacation rentals, but about a dozen families who live there year-round were told they had to leave.

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In the next few days and weeks, engineers and geologists will be trying to determine what else can be expected from this slope, and what may have caused the slide.

"I am no geologist but the grounds around here did take on a lot of rain throughout this winter and so it may be a contributor to this," OC Fire Authority Captain Thanh Nguyen said.

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