Campbell River homes will stay evacuated in wake of mudslide

Campbell River homes will stay evacuated in wake of mudslide
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WATCH: Four homes remain evacuated in Campbell River after a massive mudslide Sunday along Park Road in the wake of torrential rains. With still more rain on the way and one home already badly damaged by earth slamming into it, officials have the area closed off until experts say it’s safe to go back in. Skye Ryan reports. 

Deb Wedel was on edge while approaching her Campbell River house, after Sunday morning’s mudslide shook her neighbourhood and put her home and three others under evacuation orders.

“It’s unreal,” said the Campbell River resident.

“Like we still can’t believe it happened. I woke I don’t know how many times last night this can’t be happening.”

After heavy rain, the bank that made up part of the Wedel’s backyard gave way, crashing into her neighbour’s home below.

An aerial view of the mudslide in Campbell River on Jan. 21. Courtesy of the City of Campbell River.

An aerial view of the mudslide in Campbell River on Jan. 21. Courtesy of the City of Campbell River.

An aerial view of the mudslide in Campbell River on Jan. 21. Courtesy of the City of Campbell River.

An aerial view of the mudslide in Campbell River on Jan. 21. Courtesy of the City of Campbell River.

“All of a sudden we heard this huge noise like we’ve never heard before,” said Wedel. “Like a truck just slammed into our house or something that’s what it sounded like,” she said.

It was 7:05 a.m. Sunday on Park Road and most of the neighbourhood was asleep. Immediately, neighbours started checking on one another and found a home with a wall knocked over beneath mud, rocks and a tree. Many neighbours were scared for the two seniors inside the house. Firefighters pulled the couple from a window to get them to safety.

“They were trapped inside,” said neighbour Neil Graham. “The gas was running. It took the metre right off the side of the house.”

Neighbours say intense rains had been falling for four days straight when the wall of earth and trees came crashing down.

“We had a lot of rain, a lot of rain,” said Wedel.

Fortunately, the couple escaped uninjured, but Neil Graham who lives below the bank worries how secure it now is.

“Well you know when you’re at the bottom of the hill which way things fall,” said Graham.

The evacuation order for homes surrounding the slide is expected to be in place for a few days at least as the City of Campbell River and geotechnical experts assess the bank’s stability.

“And we’re going to be doing more detailed geotechnical evaluation to determine our next steps,” said Deborah Sargent, the city manager of Campbell River.

According to the city, a preliminary investigation confirmed that heavy rains appear to have saturated the ground above the bank.

No one is quite sure when they’ll be allowed to return home and more rain on the way to add to their worries.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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