Seattle Firefighters Rescue Man Trapped in Basement After House Moves During Landslide

PARADISE, CA - NOVEMBER 09: Firefighters try to keep flames from burning home from spreading to a neighboring apartment complex as they battle the Camp Fire on November 9, 2018 in Paradise, California. Fueled by high winds and low humidity, the rapidly spreading Camp Fire ripped through the town of …
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Seattle firefighter saved a man trapped in the basement on Friday after his house slid off its foundation during a landslide.

The Seattle Fire Department (SFD) responded to the home in the Magnolia neighborhood around 1:30 p.m. as the “house that had slid 15-20 feet off its foundation,” the SFD said in a statement.

Once on scene, firefighters learned a man was trapped in the home’s daylight basement and reported a fire involving two 500-gallon propane tanks situated on the back of the residence. A woman “was also inside of the home at the time of the slide and was able to escape on her own.”

Firefighters quickly developed a plan to simultaneously rescue the man and control the fire.

The Fire Department stated: 

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. 

Seattle also responded to the scene to evacuate a nearby home and block traffic from entering the slide zone.

Firefighters laid hose lines to the back of the home and were able to control the blaze within 25 minutes.

First responders searched for two missing dogs. “Unfortunately one was found deceased and the other was not located,” the statement read.

“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,” the SFD stated.

A structural inspector from the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) was sent to the scene to check on other structures in the slide area.

The home was red-tagged, meaning “no one can enter due to structural instability,” the SFD stated.

Bryan Stevens, director of media relations for SDCI, told the Seattle Times a home south of the one that moved had no structural damage. He recommended the residents reach out to a private geotechnical engineer and keep an eye on the hill.

The fire department reminds citizens who live near hills or slopes to periodically check for signs of soil movement, including cracks in the soil and leaning trees.


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