FORT WASHINGTON – Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III ordered the evacuation of 28 homes after a section of Piscataway Drive collapsed following a water main break and deterioration of a hill. Prince George’s County officials are now saying last week’s extensive rainfall is one reason why the hillside began to collapse.“The safety of […]
FORT WASHINGTON – Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III ordered the evacuation of 28 homes after a section of Piscataway Drive collapsed following a water main break and deterioration of a hill.
Prince George’s County officials are now saying last week’s extensive rainfall is one reason why the hillside began to collapse.
“The safety of our residents in this incident is of our highest concern, and we will be here for our residents to the end,” Baker said.
According to Scott Peterson, a spokesman for Baker, the conditions of the hillside began to deteriorate during the weekend because soil shifted after heavy rainfall leading to a number of water main breaks on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“It’s very gradual,” Peterson said of the deterioration. “It’s almost a precursor to a landslide. We are calling it a slope failure.
According to Lyn Riggins, spokesperson for the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, the utility company repaired a main break on Friday. However, the main broke again on Saturday. After WSSC repaired the main again, it broke once more on Sunday, at which point the company again sent out workers. At that time, she said, the county deemed the road unsafe.
Additionally, Riggins said the county had people out at the scene throughout the weekend because they noticed cracking issues with the road.
“It appears the road continued to shift,” Riggins said. “It is a pretty spectacular site.”
At about 2 p.m. on Monday, Baker made the decision to call for a mandatory evacuation of residences, said Peterson. Five homes at the top of the hill are on unstable ground and in danger structural damage.
The county’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) established a temporary reception center for affected residents, Peterson said, and county officials are working directly with the impacted residents of the community to ensure their safety
Ronald E. Gill Jr., OEM director, said some of the homes are going though their insurance agents to find a place to stay while others are seeking help from the county Department of Social Services.
Gill also said KCI, an engineering firm, is investigating the incident and transported samples to determine what caused the hill to collapse.
“It will take about two weeks before we can get the results back, so many of the residents will be displaced for at least two weeks if not longer ” Gill said.
Mark Brady, spokesperson for the county fire department, said a temporary detour has been set up for motorists, and a three-inch hose has been passed through a neighboring community to provide water to area.