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Royalton man's home condemned after landslide, his truck saved

Landslide in Royalton
Posted at 7:56 PM, Jun 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-09 19:56:53-04

ROYALTON, N.Y. (WKBW) — The ground continues to slowly crumble in the backyard of a Town of Royalton home after a landslide there on Wednesday. The ground dropped almost 20 feet, collapsing toward the Tonawanda Creek below it. Erosion has brought the cliff's edge closer to the newly renovated home, which is now condemned.

"There’s a lot of concern, that’s why we don’t want the homeowner going in to do anything with the house," said Jonathan Schultz, Niagara County Fire Coordinator and Director of Emergency Services. He has had to remove his belongings from inside.

The homeowner told 7 News he closed on his home in January, after putting a year of work into it. Family members said the property passed multiple inspections.

Schutlz said the homeowner saw a crack at his home on Wednesday, but didn't think much of it. By 4:30 in the afternoon, a large noise led him outside, and he found the ground had collapsed. It took out part of the driveway, where his white pick-up truck was parked. Schultz said the truck was removed Wednesday night by Royalton officials, and the Rapids Fire Department.

"Many times the creek is eroding under land, and people don’t even know it," said Schultz. He said if you notice cracks in your home, property or foundation, alert your town so an inspector can look into it.

The DEC said no fluid from the truck leaked into the soil or water stream. In a statement the DEC said:

"The homeowner is working with his personal attorney and insurance company on what his options are," said Schultz. "It's too early to tell what's going to be covered and what is not."

Neighbors in that area are not surprised about the landslide. One man told 7 News the same thing happened to his home in 2007, and insurance nor FEMA could help.

7 News reporter Michael Schwartz asked Schultz if more preventative measures can be taken.

"I wouldn't say it's that preventative measures haven't been done," said Schultz. "I know all along Tonawanda Creek they’ve done work to fix roads, fix sides of the creek, I think for many locations the homeowners don't realize concerns there."

A local contractor said two months ago his 70,000 pound truck was on the land that collapsed, while a new driveway was being installed on he property.