BELLEVUE, Wash. – Several family members are filing tort suits against the city of Bellevue, claiming that a water main in the city burst and caused a landslide that destroyed their home.
According to the claims, family members list damages worth $5 million. A family member said he passed out from stress and had to go to emergency care. Another said he contracted PTSD after losing his childhood home.
The landslide occurred in the early morning hours of January 17 near Southeast 139th Place and Southeast 51st Place. Emergency responders helped residents of this house and 15 other nearby houses to leave the area safely. An investigation into the cause is ongoing and will likely take months.
The house that was pushed back from its foundation had been teetering on a hill since January and was demolished in February after the city and owners reached an agreement.
After a month and two days of heartache, John Surdi and his family watched their house crumble.
“It was incredibly upsetting. It’s just, you know, it’s not the end, you know, but just to see your whole life, you know, crumble in front of you, and then the cranes start cutting it up piece by piece,” Surdi said. .
The family’s lives have been in limbo since an early morning water main burst pushed their 22-year-old home off its foundations along 139th Place South East in the Somerset borough.
Surdi’s wife and their dog were rescued from inside.
With the house teetering on the hillside, he said it was impossible for them to try to salvage precious memories.
“Lots of photographs. Lots of, you know, lots of childhood memories. My four kids, you know, they all grew up there a good part of their lives and Barbara and I have been married for 44 years and, you know, 44 years of marriage plus another five before we got married, that’s all gone,” he said.
For the neighbors it was also difficult.
Some houses have been tagged red, preventing people from returning due to the dangerous structure nearby.
“Our concern was what would happen, you know, if it collapsed out of their control and debris started falling because that first night we had stuff on our grass, our driveway,” said Jeff Atkin, neighbor.
FRONT COVER: Demolition preparations begin for the Bellevue house, which has slipped from its foundations; work begins February 19
READ ALSO : The City of Bellevue is suing the victims of the landslide so they can gain access to the house and demolish it
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