L.A. inspectors and engineers to visit scene of Hollywood Hills mudslide

A team of Los Angeles Building and Safety inspectors and engineers will be at the scene of Monday evening’s mudslide that affected at least three homes in the Hollywood Hills. 

The mudslide occurred in the 8100 block of West Laurel View Drive, said Erik Scott, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department. 

The large backyard of a home on Hillside Avenue slid downhill and across Laurel View Drive, into the front yards of two homes, Scott said. The residents of one home became trapped and had to be rescued by firefighters. 

The city’s Department of Building and Safety will have a team there Tuesday to conduct an assessment.

“It’s going to take a while to see exactly what the cause was,” said David Lara, a spokesman for the department. “Of course we think last week’s rain probably contributed to it.”

The hill will need to be covered with plastic to prevent any further erosion due to rainfall, Lara said. The property owner will need to hire soil engineers to make recommendations on how to fix the issue for both the short term and the long term. 

“We don’t really want to call it a landslide per se, because landslides infer there was a combination of natural occurrences, which created a landslide,” Lara said. “For now, I would just call it a slide.”

The home above the slide area has been yellow-tagged — which allows limited access — while the two properties below have been red-tagged, which bars all access.

“We’re keeping the red tags on those buildings until further notice, until we determine the stability of that slope,” Lara said.

Another property was yellow-tagged later Tuesday afternoon, Lara said, because there was evidence of part of the slide on the property as well. 

Residents were encouraged to keep an eye on their properties and make sure water is diverted in an approved manner. 

“It’s been about seven to 10 years since we’ve had rains such as these,” Lara said. “We don’t know which areas may have been affected — just like this one. Nobody knew this was coming.”

The mudslide also buried a vehicle and took out power lines, causing outages in the area. The Department of Water and Power tweeted that power had been restored to nearly all of the more than 400 customers who had lost power.

Crews are waiting on assessments from other agencies before they fully restore power, according to Albert Rodriguez, a Department of Water and Power spokesman.

“They’re still waiting on the situation to stabilize so they can get their crews in once they determine it’s safe to go in,” Rodriguez said. 

This month, shifting soil underneath a home in the Hollywood Hills caused a balcony to collapse onto a roadway.

A 9,000-pound slab of concrete and a retaining wall fell onto Laurel Canyon Boulevard, forcing officials to shut down the road as repairs were made.

A stretch of Topanga Canyon Boulevard will remain closed until at least Thursday evening as crews work to clear a rock and mudslide that occurred Jan. 22.  

The road will remain closed from post mile zero to post mile 3.6 for safety reasons, according to Michael Comeaux, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation. 

Comeaux stressed that the estimated time for reopening the road is subject to change.

In the U.S., it is estimated that landslides cost the nation $3.5 billion per year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

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