Families Could Be Displaced a Month by Wall Collapse in Latonia
Eight people from four households may be forced to live elsewhere for up to a month after a retaining wall near the Caroline Underpass in Latonia collapsed early Friday morning.
A water main and gas line also broke, but Covington City Engineer Mike Yeager said it would take an investigation to determine which happened first.
That investigation was underway Friday at the Caroline Underpass which had been closed since September for road reconstruction. Plans were to reopen the portion of the street that goes under the CSX Railroad tracks (and is heavily trafficked when a train blocks Decoursey Avenue) as soon as a week from next Monday, following some initial paving work.
That will now be delayed, Yeager said.
(SEE PREVIOUSLY: Photos: Homes Evacuated After Wall Collapses in Latonia)
Early Friday afternoon, stones were being brought in to stabilize the portion of the retaining wall that collapsed as well as to bolster part of the wall that didn't. The rocks and the associated labor are expected to cost $15,000 and will be split between the City of Covington and the Northern Kentucky Water District, Yeager said.
Meanwhile, CSX trains are still using the nearby tracks, Yeager said, after officials from the company toured the scene Friday morning. A call to CSX public relations has not yet been returned.
Red Cross helping residents
Angela Mullins lives directly behind the retaining wall in a house on Caroline Avenue. She woke up at around 5 a.m. and she and her boyfriend, Tommy North, noticed that the water pressure in the house was low while they brushed their teeth.
Once she walked outside she could see what was wrong.
"All I see is the front yard is gone," Mullins told The River City News. "There was water shooting out the front and out the other end."
She knocked on a neighbor's door. That neighbor called 911 and Mullins went on work. Later, Mullins was told to return home and retrieve as many of her personal belongings as she could.
Those belongings include six cats.
It's a sudden move at a tough time for Mullins. She lost her mother in September and less than two weeks away is Christmas, a holiday that will likely be spent elsewhere. "It's very disappointing. It hurts," she said. "It really does."
Neighbors embraced and shared tears at the scene as they were evacuated from their homes.
In all, the Red Cross is helping eight people and eight pets. They will be placed in hotels until Monday, said Bruce Pendleton of the Red Cross. After that, their cases will be evaluated.
Mullins will be staying with family.
Yeager and Covington Fire Chief Dan Mathew said the homes are to be "winterized" and a crew brought on to do that had arrived at the scene by noon on Friday.
Story & photos by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News