Palos Verdes Peninsula

Family alarmed by cracks, creaking as Rolling Hills Estates home began sliding into canyon

A landslide that pulled homes from foundations above a canyon on LA County's Palos Verdes Peninsula showed signs of slowing days after the first terrifying cracks and creaks that signaled disaster.

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The LeLevier family was just sitting down for lunch Saturday when they saw, heard and felt the ground move in the first terrifying signs of a destructive landslide on Los Angeles County's Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Within 10 minutes, the kitchen of the Rolling Hills Estates home was listing toward the canyon below.

"We are having lunch, and we are inside, and we are hearing these creaking sounds, and the lines, the cracks are getting wider all through the house, and we are hearing this thumping like the ground is falling," said Judy LeLevier, whose parents' home was destroyed.

The couple, ages 94 and 96, are Holocaust survivors who have lived in the scenic neighborhood on the northern side of the Palos Verdes Peninsula for 42 years, LeLevier said. They escaped the slowly disintegrating house and are now staying at a hotel, waiting for updates.

"They basically have nothing, and I don’t know if that has sunk in yet," said LeLevier. "

Landslide at Rolling Hills Estates forces residents to evacuate their homes

A local emergency was declared Tuesday due to the landslide that pulled homes from foundations and threatened to send houses sliding into a canyon.

Five more homes were evacuated Tuesday, bringing the total number of evacuated residences to 17. Authorities also reported that a sewer line was damaged, adding to the destruction caused by the slide that was first reported Saturday.

Authorities are closely monitoring nearly 20 other homes.

The Rolling Hills Estates City Council declared the local emergency on Tuesday night.

"The estimated costs in responding to the Peartree Lane Land Movement Incident are unknown at this time due to the evolving nature of the situation," according to a staff report prepared for the council. "Adoption of this resolution will facilitate the ability for the City to request resources including financial support and reimbursement from the State Office of Emergency Services and Federal Emergency Management Agency for costs incurred for the response of this emergency."

Homeowners had just minutes to evacuate Saturday as ground shifted. Some grabbed essentials, then could only stand back and watch the landslide destroyed their homes.

Residents might be able to return to some homes to retrieve items, if the ground stops moving, the city's mayor said.
The landslide appeared to be slowing, officials said Tuesday night.

"When they measured the movement at 4 o'clock, they announced that it was the first time it had slowed down," Mayor Britt Huff said Tuesday evening.

The cause of the slide remains a mystery. It was not immediately clear Tuesday whether the community's HOA has hired a geologist, who would provide insight on the slide.

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