SAUSALITO (CBS SF) — Work crews returned to a once picturesque Sausalito hillside Wednesday, continuing the laborious task of removing tons of debris left by a Valentine’s Day mudslide that destroyed two houses, including a duplex, and buried several cars.
The site has been untouched for eight months since that fateful rainy Valentine’s Day and the ugly gash in the hillside has been a daily reminder of Mother Nature’s destructive power to area residents.
Fortunately, no one lost their life in the slide. Susan Gordon lived on the bottom floor of that duplex and was trapped beneath mud and debris for nearly two hours before firefighters rescued her. Shaken, Gordon was taken to the hospital for treatment of only minor injuries.
“All of a sudden there was this cracking sound and then I was tumbling down,” she said in February. “I had trees on top of me. And I thought I’ve got to get out of here and couldn’t get out because everything was on me.“
Sausalito Public Works Director Kevin McGowan said the debris would be carefully removed from the steep hillside and trucked to an Alameda County center that processes toxic waste.
“We want to get this done before the rain hits,” he told the Marin IJ. “That’s the goal.”
Construction crews say the cleanup could take up to three months to clear away the wreckage from the cars and homes that were destroyed.
Aside from the two homes destroyed, six were red tagged. The slide originated close to Highway 101 and happened around 3 a.m.
“We are glad it’s begun and I kow the neighbors who are directly affected are, too,” said resident Cathy Delano.
Crescent Avenue, a typical winding Sausalito street, has been a source of irritation for local residents because it has been closed since the slide. Local officials hope to have it cleared and open in the coming weeks.