One by one, homes in Calif. subdivision sinking

Updated 6:36 pm, Saturday, May 11, 2013
This photo taken Monday, May 6, 2013 shows the wreckage of the Tudor-style dream home of Robin and Scott Spivey who were forced to abandon after the ground gave way causing it to drop 10 feet below the street in Lakeport, Calif.  Officials believe that water that has bubbled to the surface is playing a role, in the collapse of the hillside subdivision that has forced the evacuation of 10 homes and the notice of imminent evacuation of another 10 in this upscale subdivision. Photo: AP

This photo taken Monday, May 6, 2013 shows the wreckage of the Tudor-style dream home of Robin and Scott Spivey who were forced to abandon after the ground gave way causing it to drop 10 feet below the street in Lakeport, Calif. Officials believe that water that has bubbled to the surface is playing a role, in the collapse of the hillside subdivision that has forced the evacuation of 10 homes and the notice of imminent evacuation of another 10 in this upscale subdivision. Photo: AP
In this photo taken Monday, May 6, 2013, the bedroom carpets hang from the home of Jagtar Singh, left, after the ground gave way in Lakeport, Calif.  Shortly after Singh moved his wife, 4-year-old daughter and his parents the hill behind his home collapsed taking the underside of his home. Officials believe that water that has bubbled to the surface is playing a role, in the collapse of the hillside subdivision that has forced the evacuation of 10 homes and the notice of imminent evacuation of another 10 in this upscale subdivision. Photo: AP

In this photo taken Monday, May 6, 2013, the bedroom carpets hang from the home of Jagtar Singh, left, after the ground gave way in Lakeport, Calif. Shortly after Singh moved his wife, 4-year-old daughter and his parents the hill behind his home collapsed taking the underside of his home. Officials believe that water that has bubbled to the surface is playing a role, in the collapse of the hillside subdivision that has forced the evacuation of 10 homes and the notice of imminent evacuation of another 10 in this upscale subdivision. Photo: AP

 

LAKEPORT, Calif. (AP) — Scott and Robin Spivey had a sinking feeling that something was wrong with their home when cracks began snaking across their walls in March.

The cracks soon turned into gaping fractures, and within two weeks their 600-square-foot garage broke from the house and the entire property — manicured lawn and all — dropped 10 feet below the street.

It wasn’t long before the houses on both sides collapsed as the ground gave way in the Spivey’s neighborhood in Lake County, about 100 miles north of San Francisco.

“We want to know what is going on here,” said Scott Spivey, a former city building inspector who lived in his four-bedroom, Tudor-style dream home for 11 years.

Eight homes are now abandoned and 10 more are under notice of imminent evacuation as a hilltop with sweeping vistas of Clear Lake and the Mount Konocti volcano swallows the subdivision built 30 years ago.

The situation has become so bad that mail delivery was ended to keep carriers out of danger.

“It’s a slow-motion disaster,” said Randall Fitzgerald, a writer who bought his home in the Lakeside Heights project a year ago.

Unlike sinkholes of Florida that can gobble homes in an instant, this collapse in hilly volcanic country can move many feet on one day and just a fraction of an inch the next.

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