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Landslide in Magnolia neighborhood

SEATTLE – 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.

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). Firefighters utilized hydraulic struts to shore the structure to stabilize it enough for entry and bring the trapped person to safety. He was pinned underneath debris in the daylight basement and transported to Harborview Medical Center in stable condition, along with the woman who self-extricated. Crews also searched the structure for two missing dogs; unfortunately one was found deceased and the other was not located. Firefighters laid hose lines to reach the fire on the backside of the house that involved two 500-gallon propane tanks and had it under control in approximately 25 minutes.

The Seattle Police Department responded quickly to the scene as well, and helped to evacuate a neighboring home and blocked roads to ensure members of the public did not enter the slide area. Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle City Light were requested to the scene to shut off water and electricity to the structure. Seattle’s Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) also sent a structural inspector to the site to investigate damage to existing buildings and determine if neighboring structures could be reoccupied. SDCI will make recommendations to the homeowner on next steps and coordinate with other City agencies. The home that partially collapsed has been “red tagged” which means no one can enter due to structural instability.

SAFETY TIP: During the wet season – with snow melt and sustained rain, it’s important for homeowners in areas on or near steep slopes to periodically evaluate the state of the hillside for signs of soil movement. This can include leaning trees or cracks in the soil. More landslide prevention information can be found here.