Massive landslide stranding residents, threatening homes

Massive landslide stranding residents, threatening homes »Play Video
Drone aerial photo.

INDEX, Wash. - A massive mudslide in Index, near Sunset Falls, continues to threaten homes and residents fear the cost to clean-up the area will be one they can't afford.

"Wild places like this involve turmoil. The earth is constantly changing," said resident Jeff Smith who lives on Mt. Index Road that is now buried under debris. The road is the only way in-and-out and residents are stranded.

"My wife's having a baby," said resident Cameron Elias. "We sent her out a couple days ago because the road was too unpredictable and her water broke (on Sunday)."

Elias couldn't get his vehicle out of the neighborhood on Sunday afternoon so he called a friend for a ride to the hospital.

"He's lucky I got the call because I looked at my cell phone and he was calling. I was like 'Oh, man' - the football game was on," said Elias's friend Troy Jett.

The massive slide started four weeks ago - trees and mud are still tumbling down and it's making it difficult for crews to get the area cleaned-up.

"It does make you a little apprehensive but there's always risk involved in things like this," said resident Jeff Smith.

Aerials from a drone show the extent of the damage and how much the landslide is threatening homes.

"I think the first impression you have is how large it is because you can't see it all from the ground and you see how many hundreds of tons of Earth got moved suddenly, said Smith.

When the wall of mud started crumbling it also brought down power lines. Residents said the hillside is too unstable for utility crews to make repairs so they're living without electricity.

Residents believe the clean-up on this private road will exceed the funds in their homeowner's association so they're now asking for emergency funding from the state.

Despite their concerns about the mess on Mt. Index River Road, some resident said it's a trade-off for living there.

"It's the price we pay for the beauty we behold," said Elias.