UPDATE: Slide, water break, road closure near Fauntleroy Park


12:10 AM: A water break in north Arbor Heights has led to a slide that’s taken out part of a dead-end section of California SW north of SW Roxbury and forcing residents of one house to evacuate.

(Broken pipe, exposed where part of road washed out)

A sizable Seattle Fire response is here and Seattle Public Utilities crews have arrived too. No report of injuries.

12:18 AM: Police are on scene too and as you can see, California SW is taped off – we are being kept back for safety. “West of Fauntleroy Park” is probably a better description of this area – here’s a map.

7:57 AM: We’re following up on multiple fronts now that it’s light – look for an update later.

ADDED 12:30 PM: We’re still awaiting information from SPU, and checking with other agencies too, including SDOT, since a road is involved. Meantime, some midday photos showing the scope:

slide1 (2)



We’ll update with anything more we find out.

4:30 PM: SPU says it doesn’t know what caused the 2-inch water-line break. We just went back again to the slide zone and they have lots of heavy equipment at work. We’ve been talking to SDOT about the road and SDCI about the stability of the home(s) in the area – that’ll be in tonight’s story. As pointed out in comments, the slide is in an embankment on what would be the SW Cambridge street end, between 44th SW and California SW.

22 Replies to "UPDATE: Slide, water break, road closure near Fauntleroy Park"

  • JanS January 20, 2017 (12:35 am)

    I’m so sorry…that soooo sucks…and at midnite…hope everyone’s OK…and their houses…

  • similar situation January 20, 2017 (7:23 am)

    I would like to get in touch with these homeowners.  

    We have not (yet) gone to the media with our situation but our property incurred a recent landslide due to a city water main break.   These homeowners are going to be in for a shock.  They should watch their mail for a letter from the city code enforcement/building department notifying them that they have a hazardous situation on their property and that they have 30 days to correct the landslide (with no help from the city).

    WS blog if the homeowners contact you please forward them my email – thank you

    • WSB January 20, 2017 (7:41 am)

      We don’t have a morning update yet – going back to the neighborhood once it’s a little bit lighter, also contacting SPU, which was on the scene fairly quickly – the log showed SFD clearing not that long after we left.

    • KMachel January 20, 2017 (10:29 am)

      Hi I’m the homeowner, you can email me at dmachel@comcast.net.  If anyone has experience with how to handle this.  We already know it is not covered by insurance since it is a flood/mud slide. 

  • ACG January 20, 2017 (7:53 am)

    What’s up with the pipe breaking here in this spot and then not too far away on Fauntleroy Place a week or so ago?   Ageing infrastructure?  So sorry to those who had to evacuate. 

    • similar situation January 20, 2017 (8:20 am)

      the 8 inch water main break at our street had a large boulder – probably 150 plus pounds – laying on top of the pipe – at the exact spot of the break.  you’d be surprised how an 8 inch water main break going at the wrong spot can change your life.

      • ACG January 20, 2017 (8:57 am)

        I’m so sorry to hear that. My thoughts are with you as you deal with that. How awful. 

  • Alkiobserver January 20, 2017 (9:46 am)

    Yikes! Sorry this has happened. Sending positive energy and prayers. I know how stressful these kinds of situations are. So glad no one was hurt or worse. Hope they get things squared away quickly. I also hope they can stay positive and be open to people helping. It can be a tough, stressful road. We lost our home years ago in a bizarre wind and ice storm but were all safe and even able to salvage many of our possessions and rebuild. All told, took close to three years. Just remember it could always be worse, that perspective helps in getting through—my brother and his family had their finished basement and half of the main level of their house filled with raw sewage from a back up while they were in it. Yuck! It was a horrendous experience and mess (they would have been better off if the whole place had burned to the ground), but my brother, his wife and two kids and their pets were safe. 

  • Question Authority January 20, 2017 (12:03 pm)

    Rather presumptuous to say the broken pipe caused the slide, better bet is the slide broke the pipe.  It just rained a few inches, dirt gets heavy and gravity sucks.  Famous plumber saying “sh – flows downhill”

  • Imonit January 20, 2017 (12:03 pm)

    The homes actually look intact  Pretty wierd if the city won’t help the homeowners since the water pipe is Seattle Public Utilities.  There is a lot of dirt and mud in the yards.   This could have been alot worse!

    • WSB January 20, 2017 (12:08 pm)

      I have not yet heard back from SPU. Also checking with SDOT. Adding photos which show the scope of the scene, which we couldn’t do at midnight due to lack of light among other things.

  • wetone January 20, 2017 (12:07 pm)

    ACG, yes Seattle’s infrastructure is old, many areas close to 100yrs. Would not be surprised if all the new construction, the many fire hydrant openings for clean out along with trying to clean up the dirty water issues lately are part of the problem.  Pressure changes can be hard on system, more so with old systems and expose there weaknesses. Lived in WS a long time and have noticed waterline issues increasing more-so over the last 5-6yrs.  

    • Question Authority January 20, 2017 (1:41 pm)

      There are pressure relief valves in the system that handle any abnormal spikes so you are incorrect.  Aging infrastructure is a given, hence the flushing project to help it along.

  • Badwolf January 20, 2017 (12:47 pm)

    Called the city two weeks ago about water coming up in the middle of Cambridge st. During the big freeze,

    they came out and put down salt… that  was probably from the leaking 

    water main!

    • KMachel February 9, 2017 (10:16 pm)

      Hi, I just went back and saw your post.  We are one of the homes affected by the slide.  The city is claiming there is no proof it was a broken water pipe, that it was likely rainfall caused the slide which then broke the pipe, so they are not paying us for any damages.  Do you have any info or pictures of the leaking you saw on Cambridge the two weeks before the slide.  We are trying to find the report that you called them since it is supposed to be public records.  Can you give me any information or would you be willing to be a witness or write a statement as to what you saw and the dates?  We are trying to make a case so the city takes responsibility.  The city claim adjuster basically told me his job is to not pay out claims (to protect the tax payers, like us) and it is the claimant that must prove the city is responsible. dmachel@comcast.net

  • Collin January 20, 2017 (12:56 pm)

    Well I hope whoever just bought this piece of land https://www.redfin.com/WA/Seattle/4334-SW-Roxbury-St-98136/home/62529580 will do some serious planning before they start to break ground! I was watching this property as it was a “screaming deal”, now, not so much… 

    • WSB January 20, 2017 (1:09 pm)

      Just to be clear, California/Roxbury is some distance south of the slide zone – it’s where they taped off the road last night because it was a dead end, but our photographer said the slide was at least 100 yards north – that property might not be affected at all.

  • ACG January 20, 2017 (1:36 pm)

    Choppers overhead for this or something else in AH?

    • WSB January 20, 2017 (1:58 pm)

      Mudslide. See the daytime pics we added.

  • Amy January 20, 2017 (2:31 pm)

    Looks like the cross street for the slide is Cambridge, although it ends in a cul-de-sac just west of, and downhill from, that block of California Ave SW.  If I were a homeowner, I’d be looking at the two new construction properties that were squeezed onto what used to be one lot, built about three years ago.

    • Amy January 20, 2017 (2:33 pm)

      Clarification:  I meant two new construction homes up on California Ave, not on Cambridge. I realize the affected properties on Cambridge are new construction also. 

  • AIDM January 21, 2017 (9:15 am)

    Did the slide cause the water main break or did the water main break cause the slide? Is there definitive evidence of causality? The correlation of slides with rain would seem to suggest that the slide is causing the break. Beautiful views come with risks and the choice not to insure doesn’t mean that the public should pay for the consequences of homeowner’s choices.

Sorry, comment time is over.

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