British Columbia

Coquitlam home teetering after mudslide

A mudslide left a Coquitlam, B.C., family home teetering on the edge of a steep hillside on Wednesday night — but some residents say they have been raising the alarm about problems with the site for years.

Residents say repeated warnings about the site were ignored for years.

A mudslide swept away the yard of a Coquitlam home on Wednesday night. (Steve Lus/CBC)
A mudslide left a Coquitlam, B.C., family home teetering on the edge of a steep hillside on Wednesday night — but some residents say they have been raising the alarm about problems with the site for years.

The mudslide occurred after a broken water main caused the steep slope in a ravine between two houses to give way.

One house on the 1000 block of Corona Crescent east of Vancouver was evacuated around 6 p.m. PT after the mudslide tore away its brick walkway, along with a mass of trees and dirt that was swept down the hillside into the residential neighbourhood below.

Nobody was hurt in the incident, but emergency crews spent much of the night isolating the water main and clearing the debris from yards and streets below the home.

Culverts wrongly installed

Several local residents told CBC News that they had been complaining to municipal officials that the culverts in the ravine have been a problem for years.

They said the Coquitlam officials admitted the culverts were improperly installed, but because they are on the municipal boundary with Port Moody, neither municipality would take responsibility for repairing them.

Neighbour Maribel Bergler said the older couple who lived in the home were shaken up and shocked by what happened and spent the night at her home.

The couple were making dinner when they heard the trees outside their home come crashing down, she said.

"They called 911 and said, 'Send somebody here.' And they said, 'Who do we send?' And they said, 'Everybody, the ambulance, the fire trucks — we don't know what is happening,' and when the wife looked outside, she saw no trees next to her house," said Bergler.

Fire crews rushed to the scene and gave the couple three minutes to collect belongings and leave the home, said Bergler.

Engineers are expected to assess the stability of the home Thursday and the couple is waiting to hear if the foundation has been compromised.

Water to the surrounding homes was turned off for several hours, but was restored by 8 a.m. Thursday.