Residents cleaning up after Whidbey Island landslide

Residents cleaning up after Whidbey Island landslide
WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. -- Neighbors are cleaning up after a Wednesday afternoon landslide destroyed a home and damaged others on Whidbey Island.

The house that took the brunt of the force was turned almost sideways and is now just inches away from falling into Puget Sound.

Nobody was hurt in the 100-yard slide, but a lot of damage was done to several summer homes.

Homeowners and neighbors spent much of Thursday pulling trees, rocks and debris from homes.

"It's worse than I thought it was. It's really bad," said homeowner Karen Van Proyen.

At first glance, Van Proyen thought her summer home didn't survive the slide, but it turns out the mud destroyed her neighbor's house instead. That home was knocked off its foundation and nearly swept to the sea.

County inspectors say the home is a total loss, but the owner didn't know until neighbor Glen Van Proyen phoned him. Van Proyen said he took the news in stride.

"He said he thought he'd put it up for sale as beach front property as is -- a fixer-upper," Van Proyen said.

It could take the neighborhood months to get back to normal, but greenbelt expert Elliot Menashe warned neighbors that the area has had huge slides in the past and it could easily happen again.

"It's prone to sliding," Menashe said. "Houses may have been built in poor locations and it's just a matter of time."

Despite that warning, the Van Proyens say they'll won't leave.

"You hope it doesn't happen, but if it does you just clean up and move on," said Karen Van Proyen.

County officials worry there will be more slides in the area if the rain continues.