Homes safe for now after sudden landslide Wednesday, Bethlehem officials say

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BETHLEHEM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Homeowners off Groesbeck Place in Delmar say there wasn’t a rumble, a shake, a crash — nothing to warn them that 20 feet of their backyards had fallen into a ravine. They say what did wake them up Wednesday was knocks on their doors from the Bethlehem Department of Public Works.

The department says only two homes suffered any damage, one home lost several feet of property and a few trees, while another lost their back fence and an empty dog house. DPW Commissioner George Kansas says engineers don’t know why the land gave way, since there hasn’t been any major weather recently and all public utilities like water and sewer service run underneath the main road.

He says there is a history of landslides in this area as the overall soil composition is fairly loose. Back in 2015, a major mudslide dumped around 120,000 cubic yards of debris into the Normanskill.

Kansas further confirms the only utility that was in danger was electricity, since phone lines in the area traditionally run though the backyards. National Grid and Verizon worked all day Wednesday and Thursday to move a few utility lines to the front of these homes instead using temporary poles.

Commissioner Kansas says unfortunately, they can’t provide any financial assistance since the damage is all to private property. He does say it would be extremely expensive trying to reclaim any of the land, instead suggesting these homeowners stabilize what’s left and let nature run its course. 

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