KILBUCK TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – The boulders, dirt and landscaping that once made up Tom Tomaro’s backyard is continuing its gravity march into his home.
“It has moved about eight feet and its broken through the back wall now,” says Tomaro. “It’s probably in the house two or three feet.”
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In fact, inside the master bedroom where the boulders are crushing in, you can hear the tinkle of crumbling glass and the pops of the wood in the walls giving way.
“It was averaging about an inch an hour until the rain we got last night and it seems like its picked up a little bit now. It’s going to keep moving. When it’s going to quit, we don’t know,” he said.
To Tomaro, it’s more than just a house. It’s been standing for 70 years.
“We grew up here, me and my brother and my mom and dad, so I’ve lived in here for 20 years, and redid everything, so it’s pretty tough,” he says.
The house above the Tomaro’s has already moved about 20 feet off its foundation, but the ground is too soft to get heavy equipment in to tear it down.
Kilbuck Township Manager Harry Dilmore says all they can do is wait, “and that’s the most frustrating part of this, not being able to tell the people what we can and can’t do.”
Tomaro knows the slide is going to push through his home, but he’s hoping once it comes out on the other side they can start hauling it away sparing his Diamond Landscaping office across the street, and the homes and businesses below on Camp Horne Road.
“I pray to God it doesn’t come down here,” says Tim Ruppert, owner of Rupe’s Roadhouse.
The tavern and restaurant is directly in the path of the slide.
“Everything I own is in this, I don’t know what I’d do,” he says.
Dilmore says they are going to start scooping and hauling away the slide as soon as it hits the asphalt of Old Camp Horne Road in hopes of avoiding any further loss of property.
Utility lines overhead have been removed, and heavy equipment is standing by. But, for now, the crack of trees snapping as the slide continues to move are echoing along the hillside. It’s hoped the sunshine and dry weather of the weekend will help bring the movement to a halt.
The slide has forced eight evacuations so far.
Meanwhile, Tomaro and his wife are staying with his mother-in-law right now, and homeowner’s insurance won’t cover the damage. Dilmore said he’s done all he can to help the family out at this point.
“We’ve had contractors here taking a look to see if there’s anything we can do to help alleviate something. They’re kind of afraid to put any equipment or men on it right now. It’s very soft,” said Dilmore.