Mudslide crashes into Orinda home, house gets red tagged

Contra Costa County building inspectors red-tagged a home in Orinda, determining it was unsafe to inhabit.

The owner of the home on Van Tassel Lane was in the direct path of a massive landslide Tuesday.

Inspectors are monitoring the hillside to see if any other homes are in danger

A large chunk of the hillside behind his house sent an avalanche of mud and debris through his back walls.

"I heard this loud noise it sounded like loud thunder," said the homeowner Paul Vittimberga.

Vittimberga's partner and teenage son were not at home. He was alone.    

"I thought i was going to be crushed in the bathroom. At frst i thought it was a safe place to hide," he said.
He knew he had to get out.

"I started to see the back wall coming in and snapping and breaking. I made my way acoss this dirt and a whole piece of floor gave way."

But he made it out safely.
From the back deck you can see the mud and debris that came roaring down and crashed through the back of his home.

A county geologist estimated more than 66-thousand cubic yards of mud spilled down.

It's private property, so how the hillside is fixed and who will pay for it is still unclear.

Vittimberga says he never expected anything like this to happen.

"It's a steep hill. But we've never had anything like this at all," he said.

The winter storms have hammered Orinda. Among its biggest problems is this 40-foot wide sinkhole that opened up last month.

"Everyone wants the water. I love the water. But it's devastating Orinda and we are trying to put the pieces back together," said Tod Fierne, Orinda"s Public Works Inspector.

For Paul Vittimberga, he' says he is still getting over the shock of what happened to his home.

"Talked to some engineers and some companies who can help stabilize the hillside to get a better feel for a plan. And that helps" he said.

The family is staying with friends for now.