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Landslide damages homes, forces evacuations in Sherman Oaks

Sherman Oaks, CA, Wednesday, March 13, 2024 - A landslide destroyed a home and three other residences were damaged near Ventura Canyon Ave. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)
A landslide that started near a home at the top of the image destroyed one home to the right, and three other residences along Ventura Canyon Avenue. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

A landslide damaged multiple homes in Sherman Oaks on Wednesday morning and sent water gushing down the street after an outdoor pool was drained to lighten the weight on the hillside.

The incident unfolded shortly before 3 a.m. after residents reported downed power lines and a large tree that fell into a backyard in the 3700 block of North Ventura Canyon Avenue, the Los Angeles Fire Department announced in a news release.

Firefighters arrived and found a large portion of the hillside had shifted downward, threatening at least three homes and heavily damaging another under construction. The slide sent a large crack through the backyard of one house, and a back portion of the home could be seen listing to one side, according to video from OnScene.TV.

A landslide destroyed a home and three other residences were damaged near Ventura Canyon Ave.
A landslide that started at one home destroyed anther home to the right, and three other residences along Ventura Canyon Avenue. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

Several people were forced to evacuate at least one home, according to LAFD officials, although there were no reported injuries. Firefighters used pumps to remove water from a swimming pool to remove additional weight and stress from the hillside, authorities said.

The Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety was called to the scene and initially deemed one home was unsafe and red-tagged the building, but later determined two homes were unsafe and a third was yellow-tagged to indicate partial damage, LAFD said. Firefighters will continue to survey the area with drones, authorities said.

The cause of the landslide has not yet been determined, according to LAFD spokesperson Nicholas Prange.

The Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety did not respond to requests for comment.

Officials reminded residents they should have a year-round plan for emergencies, including wildfires and heavy rainstorms, which could trigger landslides.

The slide arrives after March showers drenched Southern California following an already wet February. The area near Sherman Oaks received 1.95 inches of rain after a two-day storm on March 6 and 7, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Kristan Lund.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.