Stafford county homes saved after series of landslides

The landslide ate up backyards and decks behind the homes. Photo: Autria Godfrey

For 11 months, Dan and Michele O'Leary and their neighbors have been waiting for someone to come and save their home.

That help finally came.

In late September of 2011, a landslide in the backyard of the O'Leary's home in Stafford County swallowed up a deck, a hot tub and their backyard. With nowhere else for the land to go, the $340,000 home was condemned.

However, after a huge fundraising effort, help from Stafford County and assistance from a Fredericksburg engineering firm, a plan has been hatched to stop the slide and keep the homes themselves from tumbling down the hill.

In the time leading up to three separate landslides, a flow of underground water slowly ate away at the O'Leary's backyard. The home was condemned and, worse yet, insurance companies said they couldn't help.

'I was very scared not knowing what the outcome would be down the road for us," Dan said.

It was something that Stafford County had not seen before to this scale. But now that the neighborhood and surrounding communities have raised nearly $80,000 to help the O'Learys and their neighbors, along with funds from local governments, they have hope and a grateful heart.

"We can't, from the bottom of our hearts, thank these people and neighbors who have done so much helping us through this time," Dan said.

The fix includes nearly two million pounds of rock and a drainage system that will deal with the water than naturally flows below the surface.

"The impact of this event is felt beyond the two homes," county deputy administrator Keith Dayton said. "It's felt by the entire neighborhood."

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