El Nino rains appear to be the culprit in a precarious situation for several homeowners in San Francisco's Sherwood Forest neighborhood where the city has already ordered the demolition of one home that appeared ready to slide down a hill. A neighbor sounded alarm bells earlier this week about 256 Casitas Avenue, a four-bedroom, three-story home which, like most of its neighbors, sits perched along a hill with more homes below them. Cracks in the pavement along the front of the house got to be as wide as 14 inches, as ABC 7 reports, with the home and its foundation on the move, along with the hill beneath it. The house had also sank about a foot.
Redfin shows the ranch-style home having been sold just last October for $2.2 million, and new owner Ronald Martell told ABC 7 that he'd had a bad week, having flown to Ohio to attend his father's funeral, only to be called back with news about the house. "The foundation is still trying to do its job to keep it in place," he says. "It's the hill that's moving."
He and his family still had not yet moved in, and on Thursday a crew hired by Martell began safely demolishing the house to avoid having it slide further and crush the home of Jason Au, which sits below it.
As Martell told KRON 4, he's not sure if he will be able to rebuild on the site.
The city has now ordered neighboring homeowners to hire a soils engineer to prove that their houses won't begin sliding next.
Demolition at 256 Casitas was expected to be complete Friday, ahead of the next rain storm.