Recent rains have caused an unstable hillside on Carson Street to shift, prompting the city to red-tag homes in the 200 block of Carson and disconnect their utilities.
“Every time it rains, I go out and check the homes,” said Hercules Chief Building Official John J. McGuire, who noticed that the hill had moved about a foot a couple of weeks ago.
The four houses threatened by the hillside, which has more than a decade-long history of problems, were already abandoned when the city took action this week. Two of the homes were evacuated in the past six months, and at least one still had gas and power, which posed a potential threat to neighbors McGuire said.
City code enforcement staff asked PG&E to shut off power this Tuesday to the homes as a way to safeguard against electrical fires and gas explosions.
Because the city does not own the hillside or the homes, it has stayed generally uninvolved with the Carson Street slide, but due to the “hazards…now it’s becoming a city issue,” said McGuire.
“My concern is that the hill will continue to slide and (push the homes) out into the street,” McGuire said. The city is looking into demolishing the homes if the landowners don’t take action first.
“We really don’t want to spend $100,000 knocking down homes,” McGuire said. He added that even if the homes were destroyed, the issue of the unstable hillside would persist.