At least 15 houses are wrecked or damaged; entire Bluebird Canyon area is evacuated.
We will be checking to see if the residents of these homes need binkies, etc. Just because they are big homes, doesn’t make it any less sad and tragic for the loss of personal items and those items that bring comfort. Read the story to learn more. We’ll post needs as we hear.
A massive landslide this morning destroyed or damaged at least 15 to 18 homes – and 20 more houses were possibly in danger – in the Bluebird Canyon area of Laguna Beach, an area of previous slide activity. No one was seriously injured, officials said.
At least 15 houses along Flamingo Road, above Bluebird Canyon Drive, were either destroyed, damaged or in danger of falling, officials said. One report from the scene said a section of hillside about 1,000 feet wide had fallen.
Two people sustained minor injuries.
While officials didn’t know the cause of the slide, they said it didn’t appear to be related to a 1978 slide further downhill in which 25 homes around Oriole Drive and Meadow Lark Drive were destroyed.
All homes in the Bluebird Canyon area, more than 300, were evacuated, and all streets into Bluebird Canyon were closed. An evacuation center was set up at Laguna Beach High School, 325 Park Ave. Residents forced from their homes also checked into Laguna hotels, which reportedly were offering discounts to evacuees.
City officials told evacuees whose homes were still inhabitable to make plans to be out of their homes for several days.
Residents from Flamingo Road, near the northern end of the slide area, began called authorities at 6:56 a.m., saying they heard “loud snapping sounds,” prompting the start of the evacuation.
Southern California Edison reported that 339 customers lost power at 6:51 a.m. because of the slide. Edison cut power to another 105 customers as a precaution against fire or electrocution.
Amy Amirani, a resident who lives below the slide, said at about 6:45 a.m. she heard a loud noise that sounded worse than a car crash. “I heard a second crash that sounded like a bomb.”
She said she saw dozens of residents running down the street in a panic. One man told her, “The whole mountain came down.”
Paul Schnell, 78, was in his bathroom, reading the sports page, at about 6:30 a.m. when the lights when out in his home at 1031 Madison Place, the street at the top of the slide.
He went to the window to see if his neighbors had lost power. When he looked down the slope toward the home of his friends Louie and Kay, below on Flamingo Road, he saw devastation.
Their home “looked like a cracker box, it was all cracking up, and it slid down about 20 feet,” Schnell said.
He said he and his wife, Donna, spotted Louie and Kay, both in their 80s, standing in the hole where their home had stood. They were holding hands.
Dorit Huberty was sleeping in her home, in the 900 block of Bluebird Canyon Drive, when she heard what she thought sounded like a fire.
“It was a popping sound,” that woke her up. She walked out on her patio and was amazed to see trees and land sliding down the hill above her.
“I got out; I just got out,” hauling her 19-month old son, Noah, with her, Huberty said. She called her husband, Stephen, who was awaiting a flight at John Wayne Airport. They reunited down the street from their home.
“The important things are out,” Stephen Huberty said.
Shari Beckett, 55, said she was in her home on Palmer Place, a couple of blocks downhill from the slide, when “I heard a roar, I thought it was a tsunami. I looked out to the ocean but it was flat as can be. I looked (uphill) and saw a big cloud, it reminded me of 9/11.”
Elaine Anderson, who lives on Dyer Place, just east of the slide, heard a sound that she thought was a car crash. She left her house to walk Boone, her golden retriever. Then she saw an elderly man and woman driving down the hill in separate cars. The woman rolled down her window.
“The houses are falling, get out, get out, get out,” the frightened woman yelled.
Beckett smelled gas but did not feel she was in danger so she took Boone home and began eating cereal. Then she heard a bullhorn.
“Evacuate, immediately,” the voice on the bullhorn commanded. Beckett said left for the nearest evacuation center.