Fort Washington homes deemed 'unsafe' after slope collapse

FORT WASHINGTON, Md. (WJLA) - At first glance, it looks like an earthquake struck Fort Washington, with huge uprooted trees and snapped utility poles and downed wires.

Massive chunks of the hillside are now gone, and part of the road has been washed away, with the remaining portion full of cracks.

Sitting on the edge of this slope along Piscataway Drive are six homes that have been deemed unsafe. Another 22 nearby with no water or electricity have also been deemed unfit.

Daisy McClellan, who has lived in the neighborhood for 25 years, was told to evacuate:

"They said to get our important papers out, our clothing, for at least two weeks...that's a minimum."

Residents here say the problem started with last week’s torrential rains. Then, over the weekend, there were three water main breaks. By Sunday morning, the catastrophe continued with an exploded transformer.

"It was like gunfire -- you just heard POP -- then the electricity was gone again," said resident Gwynn Roberson.

"The ground started to shake, the trees started to fall, and literally the road collapsed," described Dawn Taylor.

"The additional influx of water just wiped the road out and just eroded the whole hill," added Roberson.

State Senator Anthony Muse has surveyed the damage, and assured:

"We're bringing in architects, engineers, and geologists to look at how they can fortify and salvage as much as they can."

However, that process could take weeks. Meanwhile, at least 28 families here are left in limbo.

"I just hope these people don't lose their houses, and that we all get to come back soon," said McClellan.