When Stephanie and Luis Estrada stepped into their yard around 8 p.m. Monday night, the couple spotted cracks in a few bricks lining their home. By 7 a.m. the next morning, the couple noticed their land was sliding, bricks were falling, and walls, fences and trees were splitting with no apparent explanation.
“I wasn’t sure who to call,” resident Stephanie Estrada said. “I started with the city then the fire department, my HOA (and) the HOA of the Trestles down below us.”
The Trestles is a single-family home development that was built about five years ago near Soledad Canyon Road, Estrada said, adding there’s also a small hill sitting above the Trestles development and behind the Estrada household that possesses no vegetation and a drain that is used for the rain runoff.
“Currently, what’s happening is we’re sliding down the mountain, and the mud at the bottom of the mountain is sliding into (the Trestles’) backyards,” Estrada said, “so they’re not in the best situation either.”
The Estrada family said more than a dozen engineers and inspectors have come to visit the house throughout the past two days, and the group was pretty surprised when they arrived.
Carrie Lujan, communications manager for the city of Santa Clarita, confirmed a building inspector was out at the house Wednesday and Thursday.
“At this time, no homes have been tagged,” Lujan said Thursday evening.
“I don’t think they were expecting to see what they saw,” Estrada said, mentioning the damage had gotten worse with the episodes of rain, hail and snow. “They were definitely concerned at that point.”
“The Fire Department came back, and they tagged off our backyard and asked us to leave because it wasn’t safe to be here,” Estrada said Thursday, as family members assisted with the packing of the home’s possessions. Officials don’t know the extent of the damage under the house or foundation, “We’re taking extra precaution and taking our kids and dogs out.”
The family said they were told to act as if they had an hour or two to get out.
“As people can see from (The Signal’s) video, our backyard is not flat, and it used to be completely flat,” Estrada said, gazing toward the damaged tree, toppled fence and other notable landscape shifts that are occurring throughout her neighborhood. “We just actually bought this house in September, so it’s quite surprising to us.”
The destruction is slowly happening, “but it’s so quick,” she said, citing the backyard as one of the main reasons why she and her husband moved into the home with their children. “It’s unfortunate, but we just have to get out and be safe.”