NJ Town on Edge After Landslide

Two homes condemned, road compromised

By Brian Thompson
|  Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011  |  Updated 6:37 AM EDT
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NJ Town on Edge After Landslide

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A landslide caused by erosion after Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee has destroyed two homes in one western New Jersey township, and may threaten more.

"It looked like Mount Vesuvius when it erupted," Liberty Mayor John Inscho said on Monday. He was just feet away when the landslide came down on Thursday.

"The mud, the water, the trees, the houses, the noise -- I've never heard anything like it. I don't want to hear anything like it again in my life," he said.

No one was hurt as the ground gave way under two hillside homes overlooking Mountain Lake in Liberty.

William Tanner said his son, Jeremy, escaped by just seconds as he was trying to move his car.

"The fireman's going 'Get out of there quick,'" Tanner said.

Town officials quickly determined that a hidden underground stream had become a river from the heavy rains and simply eroded the hillside.

The road above the two homes is closed because it may be compromised, according to the mayor.

And while other residents of Lewis Lane have been allowed to walk back to their homes, the mayor said they have been cautioned.

"We told them keep an eye on their drinking water," he said.

Residents should look for discoloration in their drinking water, voids in their yards and trees that look like they're starting to tip. 

Follow Brian Thompson on Twitter @brian4NY

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