by KING 5 News
Posted on March 27, 2013 at 8:45 AM
Updated today at 5:46 PM
Landslides threatening homes
Despair doesn’t come close to the way Whidbey Island resident Bret Holmes is feeling as he looks back over the past 24 hours.
“It felt like an earthquake and shook the house,” he said.
Residents were evacuated early Wednesday after massive landslides damaged one home and threatened or isolated two dozen more in Coupeville. The initial slide happened around 4:15 a.m. along Driftwood Way in the Ledgewood Beach Community, also affecting homes on Fircrest Avenue. More landslides were reported throughout the day.
Holmes spent the day scrambling to pack his things and get out of the house that his parents once owned and that’s on the brink of being lost forever. Making matters worse, word from his insurance company is that if the house goes, he isn’t covered.
“It makes me sick to my stomach having to get up and go through this,” said Holmes.
Neighbors said it sounded like a sonic boom – a blast that obliterated about 600 feet of hillside in the middle of the night, taking with it a home where an 81-year-old cancer patient felt the ground starting to give way. He moved to his truck shortly before the earth disappeared below him.
Authorities have completed evacuations of 34 homes that were damaged, isolated or threatened by the mudslide. Emergency workers were trying to access parts of the damaged areas via property owned by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue Chief Ed Hartin says 11 other people from 16 homes along a road close to the water were evacuated by boat because the road was blocked by the landslide. Hartin says another 20 to 25 people were evacuated from along a road higher up the hill that is being undermined by the slide.
It will likely be days, if not weeks, before the evacuated residents are allowed to return. Some may never be able to return.
KING 5′s Eric Wilkinson contributed to this report.
- Big landslides on Whidbey Island (blogs.seattletimes.com)
- Landslide on Puget Sound’s Whidbey Island forces evacuation of 34 homes (oregonlive.com)
- KING5: Big landslides on Whidbey Island (blogs.seattletimes.com)
- Landslide destroys one home; threatens more on Whidbey Island (mynorthwest.com)
- 1 home destroyed in Coupeville landslide (seattletimes.com)
- Washington island landslide affects 34 homes (hosted.ap.org)
- Homes evacuated after major landslide on Whidbey Island (komonews.com)
- Massive landslide on Whidbey Island (q13fox.com)
- Photos: Landslide in Washington threatens 30 homes (photos.mercurynews.com)
- Photos: Landslide in Washington threatens 30 homes (photos.denverpost.com)