MUDSLIDE CAUSED BY HEAVY RAINS JEOPARDIZES SEA CLIFF HOME
May 1, 2014 -- A Sea Cliff home perched high above Hempstead Harbor lost several feet of its backyard and patio to a mudslide early Thursday morning as heavy rains saturated the ground that had been supported by a block retaining wall. It was unclear whether the retaining wall, under hydrostatic pressure, gave way first, with the yard following closely behind, or if the mud slide began first, taking the wall with it. Regardless, a peninsula of soil and debris now juts into Hempstead Harbor near the bottom of Tilley's steps.
The home at 14 Bay Avenue houses four rental apartments two of which were occupied by tenants early Thursday morning. According to Mayor Bruce Kennedy, one resident reported hearing a "thud, crash, whoosh" at some point between 2 and 2:30 am, but went back to sleep.
The Sea Cliff Fire Department received a call at 7:03 am from another tenant reporting that the building's basement was flooded and that there was a strong electrical odor. Fire chief Ernie Longobucco, whom the Mayor later designated the site manager, arrived at the home shortly thereafter, followed by 1st Assistant Fire Chief Mark Vitale and 3rd Assistant Fire Chief Michael Halquist. The house was evacuated of its three occupants, and the Mayor, Sea Cliff Building Superintendent, Drew Lawrence, Village Administrator John Mirando, the Nassau County Police, and the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management soon arrived on the scene.
Ray's Towing was called in to rescue a black Saab that was precariously protruding over the precipice. With a pulley wrapped around a nearby tree, a cable was attached to the car and it was slowly pulled to stable ground.
Additionally, Nick DeSantis, an Oyster Bay based structural engineer who has done work for the Village, was brought in to inspect the site, and based on his analysis that the 75 degree slope, now only a few feet from the house's shallow foundation, jeopardized the structure, Mayor Kennedy made a declaration that the house was unsafe, thereby making it unoccupiable until the slope is remediated. Residents have been able to return to retrieve belongings.
Local utilities were also called in to disconnect the gas, electrical and water lines running into the house.
The house to the south of 14 Bayview seemed to be unaffected by the mudslide, while to the north, the slide appeared to cause a drop off about half way down the slope. However, Mayor Kennedy said that the engineer determined that that situation did not pose a danger to the house or its occupants.
The Mayor was very complimentary of all of those who responded to the emergency. "Everybody did their part and pulled together," he said.
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