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6.01.2005

Calif. landslide sends six homes crashing



LAGUNA BEACH, California (AP) -- A landslide sent six expensive homes and a section of street crashing down a hillside Wednesday and damaged a dozen or more other houses.

At least two people were taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries, officials said. Crews were apparently able to evacuate many other residents before the hillside collapsed.

"The pipes started making funny noises and the toilet sounded like it was about to explode," said Carrie Joyce, a fire department office manager who lives in the neighborhood.

"I could see one house, huge, we call it the mausoleum, 5,000 square feet or more. It had buckled, the retaining wall in the front of it was cracked. It just looked like the whole house was going," she said.

Six homes had "major damage," fire Capt. Danell Adams said. The mayor of the Orange County coastal enclave said as many as 20 had some damage.

The soil continued moving beneath the homes.

Television helicopter footage showed smashed homes, trees, cars and a section of heavily built-up Flamingo Road that had plunged down the hillside about a mile inland from the beach.

Some of the houses remained nearly intact but others were ripped apart and created trails of debris.

Emergency officials were called at about 5 a.m. and "we believe we evacuated the people who could be in harm's way," Mayor Elizabeth Pearson-Schneider told KTTV