12 homes at risk of falling into canyon after landslide in Southern California

Los Angeles County Fire Department officials evacuated homes in the Rolling Hills Estates Saturday, which displaced 16 people.

ByTeddy Grant ABCNews logo
Tuesday, July 11, 2023
L.A. County and Rolling Hills Estates officials speak on landslide
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City and County officials -- including the L.A. County assessor and mayor of Rolling Hills Estates -- did a walk-through around the area Monday afternoon.

LOS ANGELES -- A dozen homes in a Southern California community were evacuated over the weekend after the ground beneath them shifted, putting them at risk of a collision course into a nearby canyon, according to Los Angeles County officials.

Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACFD) officials red-tagged and evacuated homes in the Peartree Lane neighborhood in the Rolling Hills Estates Saturday, which displaced 16 people, the city said.

In a video shared on Twitter by the Los Angeles County Fire Department, homes are seen partially collapsed and the ground cracked, exhibiting significant damage.

Rolling Hills Estates is working with Los Angeles County agencies and the Red Cross to provide shelter for the displaced residents, the city said in a statement on its website.

This photo shot with a drone shows damage from earth movement to a property in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif. Monday, July 10, 2023.
Ted Soqui via AP

The city said it's also working with the LACFD and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to monitor the situation in the impacted area.

"Homes have been pulled off their foundations," Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Hahn tweeted on Sunday. The land is continuing to move, but the evacuation order continues to be limited to these 12 homes."

The landslide caused the ground to move around 20 feet since she was in the area the day before when there were only a "few cracks" and the garages were bent, Hahn said at a press conference on Monday.

Hahn said garages and back decks were "gone" and had fallen into the ravine.

"I've never seen anything like it. They're completely uninhabitable," Hahn said, adding that officials are waiting for the homes to fall into the ravine to figure out what caused the incident.

Southern California is prone to landslides because of its location on a major tectonic plate boundary and geological complexity, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the California Geological Survey.

The area experiences different types of landslides, including rapid debris flows caused by heavy rainfall, USGS said in its report.

Hahn said the landslide could be attributed to heavy rainfall, leading to underground water to cause a fissure, resulting in the homes falling into the canyon.

Rolling Hills Estates sits on the north side of Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles County, Google Maps data shows.

A landslide in 1956 destroyed 140 homes in the city of Rancho Palos Verdes, and the land still moves in the area, according to The Associated Press.

"Luckily, we got everybody out, people were given 20 minutes to get their belongings," she said. "Everyone was coopering. We're now here kind of in a recovery mode eventually to see what we can do to help people."

Peartree Lane is closed to the public and only available to residents, city officials and public safety staff, the city said.

City officials and their partners are investigating the incident, according to Rolling Hills Estates.

"The outpouring of support from our community has been amazing over these past few days. Not just from within Rolling Hills Estates, but from our neighboring cities and our elected officials at the County and State levels," Mayor Britt Huff said in a statement on the city's website. "It has been truly inspiring to see how everyone is pulling together to offer assistance, especially to our displaced residents and their families."