Slope failure evacuees wait to be let back into homes

FORT WASHINGTON. Md. (WUSA9) -- More than two dozen Prince George's County residents still aren't allowed back into their homes after a slope failure caused part of Piscataway Drive to collapse.

Monday, 28 homes were evacuated in the Piscataway Hills community after 1500 feet of slope failure left the homes in danger.

The road began cracking this weekend. More ground movement led to water and sewer lines breaking, hills and slopes began sinking and eventually the soil wasn't strong enough to hold up trees.

One resident told us, "I was standing down on the road to look at one of the trees that had fallen when one of the huge trees on the hill started cracking down the side and smashed right beside us on the road and hit the power lines and they started whipping around again."

By Monday morning, the ground had become so unstable that emergency officials evacuated 28 houses. Six of them were deemed unsafe because they are on unstable ground The other 22 homes were deemed unfit to live in due to water, sewage or electrical failures.

Fire and police crews went door to door to evacuate residents in accordance with Prince George's County Code Section 4-120:

"Sec. 4-120. Administration; Section 117, Emergency Measures.

(a) Section 117.1 is added to read as follows: "Imminent Danger." When, in the opinion of the Code Official, there is imminent danger of failure or collapse of a building or structure or any part thereof which endangers life or when any structure or part of a structure has fallen and life is endangered by the occupation of the building or structure, the Code Official is hereby authorized and empowered to order and require the occupants to vacate the same forthwith. The Code Official shall cause to be posted at each entrance to such structure, a notice reading as follows: 'This structure is unsafe and its occupancy has been prohibited by the Code Official.' It shall be unlawful for any person to enter such structure except for the purpose of making the required repairs or of demolishing the same."

Officials said water was restored to the 14 homes that were not evacuated in the area on Monday. The evacuated homes still have no water service.

Residents are wondering when they will be allowed back into their homes. Engineers will spend at least two weeks developing recommendations for short and long term fixes. Then, officials will spend more time employing those recommendations.


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