Landslide zone

Just a little local story of no particular significance for once, simply because I saw some of it. I was out for a walk with a dog friend (or dog client, or something), on a boulevard that runs along the top of high bluffs at the western edge of Seattle, where Elliott Bay meets Puget Sound, and we came to a place with a lot of yellow tape between the sidewalk and the edge of the bluff. Part of the bluff there had collapsed recently, I’d noticed it some weeks or months back when walking the dog there, but it wasn’t yellow-taped then. Clearly this was new collapse, which was completely unsurprising given the record rains we’ve just had, and the history of those bluffs, which is a history of serial collapses after heavy rains.

So when I got home I googled and learned what had happened.

On Jan. 7 around 1:30 p.m., Seattle’s Fire Alarm Center dispatchers received a 911 call about a house that had slid 15-20 feet off its foundation at the 2400 block of Perkins Ln. W. The steep slope area behind the house had slid likely as a result of high levels of precipitation which resulted in the top floor of the structure partially collapsing on top of the daylight basement.

Magnolia Boulevard is up there at the top, out of sight. It has spectacular views, as you can imagine, and in places a fair bit of grassy area between the street and the edge, so dogs can ramble around at the end of a long leash.

Upon Seattle Fire’s arrival, there were reports of an adult male trapped inside, along with a fire involving propane tanks on the back side of the house. An adult female was also inside of the home at the time of the slide and was able to escape on her own.

Engine 41 from Fire Station 41 in the Magnolia neighborhood arrived first on scene and quickly conducted a size-up of the incident and began to put a strategy in place to conduct a rescue and mitigate the fire simultaneously.

Additional fire units arrived on scene to help as part of the “Heavy Rescue Major” response, including the department’s Rescue 1 Company (technical rescue).

Oh that’s what that was, thought I. The dog and I saw some of that ourselves. There’s a fire department in the nabe and we saw a fire truck come shrieking down the hill from the station and head south at that hour, and as we kept walking I heard more and more and more sirens – far more than usual.

It’s all a big mistake, frankly, because Perkins Lane has had these slides repeatedly, sometimes with several houses taken out at one time. There just shouldn’t be any houses there.

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