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Chaweva Lake landslide putting pressure on home; family urged to leave

Victims of the massive landslide on Lake Chaweva, in Cross Lanes are having to pack up their things and leave their home behind. (WCHS/WVAH)

Victims of the massive landslide on Lake Chaweva, in Cross Lanes are having to pack up their things and leave their home behind.

On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security's inspection of the landslide determined the hillside is still moving slowly and will continue to slip.

The landslide's path went right between two neighboring homes on Lake Chaweva. One home received the brunt of the damage, but there was hope the home could be repaired. Now, just two days after, the homeowners say it will be a total loss with the hill continuing to slide.

The power of this landslide already knocked the garage off its foundation and is now putting pressure on the entire house. The boards on Sue Chapman's porch are creaking, and her doors are unable to stay closed.

"We had hope, we just had hope that maybe it's going to stop, maybe it won't do anymore, maybe it's just the garage, but it's escalated," Chapman said.

Assessing the impact of this disaster, Kanawha County's Floodplain Manager, Chuck Grishaber determined the landslide is not stopping.

"There seems to be a lot of dirt still at the top that's separating and getting ready to move, and it could come down the hill with additional rain," Grishaber said.

"This portion of it has moved at least ten feet, at least ten more feet," Grishaber said.

He estimated the space of the land where the slip started is about 60 feet wide and 25 feet long, and it's now forming pools of water, adding weight to the debris.

"I advised this morning that it would be best for them to move out, find other housing," Grishaber said.

"I think we're just in crisis mode to get everything organized and get out and be safe," Chapman said.

The Chapman's received help moving from the National Guard, and Grishaber is working with FEMA's grant program, hoping to get them some assistance.

"I mean your heart aches for them, it is rough to start over," Grishaber said.

"We've lost it all. It's tough," Chapman said.

Engineers are still working to determine if that property would ever be safe to rebuild on in the future.


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