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Crews Shoring Up San Gabriel Valley Home After Part Of It Collapsed

SAN GABRIEL ( —Construction crews worked Tuesday to shore up a red-tagged house in the San Gabriel Valley after its backyard collapsed into a wash following heavy rain.

Homeowner Ona Hu said she thought the loud noise she heard around 5:30 a.m. was an earthquake. "I was sleeping, right? I then I heard, 'Boom!'" she said.

The loud noise was the backyard of her house in the 5300 block of Pondosa Street crumbling into a wash.

A county inspector said the deluge caused a temporary retaining wall to collapse, sending dirt underneath the driveway into a flood channel next to the house.

"You know that's really scary.  And then I wake the kids up," Hu said.

"Basically, the concrete has collapsed into the pipe, the water thing. The gas meter is connected to the concrete, and it's falling down with it," Hu's son, Allen Wang said.

For the past year, construction has been underway right next to Hu's home. It is part of the San Gabriel Trench Project to lower the railroad tracks below ground level for a new rail line.

The family said they have noticed holes in their flooring prior to Tuesday morning's collapse.

Crews have been shoring up the collapsed area. But it's unclear if the house is livable.

"If the home is unlivable; we're a public agency; we are required to compensate the family," Paul Hubler of the Alameda Corridor East Construction Authority said.

Mark Christoffles of the Alameda Corridor East Construction Authority is in charge of the trench project. "We feel bad about the whole situation. We are relocating them for the moment, temporarily," he said. "Hopefully, they don't lose the entire structure, but if they do, we will replace it for them."

The residents were evacuated after their house was red-tagged. They have been offered to stay in a hotel while they wait to hear the fate of their home they have been living in since 2008.

The trench project is being funded from transportation bonds approved by California voters.


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