Rift in earth widens as East Liverpool officials scramble to keep up

Two houses in East Liverpool are at risk of sliding down a hill

east liverpool ohio slippage earth shift

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – Two East Liverpool homes that are sliding down the hill they are built on have been officially condemned, and the people living in the homes were relocated.

It all started when cracks in the pavement on Lisbon Street widened into deep fissures, causing cracks in the foundation of the houses.

Around noon Friday, the city’s utility company cut off all power and gas to both homes. This was after the area severely worsened overnight.

“The gas company contacted me last night. They were concerned with active gas lines going to both houses and with the movement that’s occurred,” said East Liverpool Service-Safety Director Brian Allen.

One of the homeowners evacuated several days ago, but on Thursday, the other family said they were going to wait it out. That family was told to leave after the cracks opened up about four to five more inches overnight.

Allen said it was difficult telling the families that they had to leave and go to a hotel, but he said one woman took the move well.

“She actually wanted to stay a few extra days in the hotel,” he said, laughing. “They brought her donuts this morning with an Easter card.”

The American Red Cross stepped in to get the families relocated to temporary shelter. The organization is also working with the city and other agencies to find the families permanent homes now that their houses have been condemned.

“I think they’re just in shock right now, because they’ve lived here for so long and that thought of having to move because of the situation that they’re in, it’s not something you can prepare for,” said Kristen Gallagher, disaster program specialist with the American Red Cross.

At 6 p.m. Friday, City Council held a meeting to approve emergency funding of $100,000 to begin repairs on Lisbon Street. That money will cover the cost of a drilling rig that will be coming in on Monday to get to the core of the issue. Excavators are working in front and behind the homes, and soil is being tested to determine the cause of the ground shift.

Allen said those investigating the “slippage” do not believe it is due to mines or erosion.

Next up for the city is to have the geologist confirm that the problem is slippage. Once that is done, the city can submit a specific plan to the Ohio Department of Transportation to fix it and have the state cover the emergency funds to fix the road.

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