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House under construction shifts off foundation after landslide caused in part by garden hose

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Posted at 8:35 PM, May 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-30 23:15:31-04

PROVO, Utah -- A landslide in Provo Saturday afternoon caused a house under construction to be shifted off its foundation.

The property is located on 1450 East 1244 North. The cause is being blamed on a garden hose that was left running, and, according to the city, the whole home will have to be torn down.

During the time of the landslide, two construction workers were inside framing the house, when all of a sudden they felt the ground moving. Both workers managed to get out of the house and avoid injury.

"It sounded like some kind of muffled explosion, I wasn't sure what it was, that's why I wanted to see what was going on," neighbor David Dahl said.

The estimated damage to the half-built home is being estimated at $100,000.

"There's been a slope failure behind the house that knocked down a retaining wall," said Lynn Schofield, Provo Fire Marshal. "The retaining wall was knocked into the house, as well as mud and soil, and pushed the framing part of the home off the floor structure."

The city of Provo said the garden hose that was left running was in the back yard of another house, located on the hillside above.

"We've already had a ton of rain over the past few weeks, so the ground is already pretty well saturated, leave a garden hose on top of that, and it adds 8.35 pounds-per-gallon of water that drops into the soil, as that soil gets wetter and wetter and wetter--it gets heavier and heavier and heavier," Schofield said.

The house where the garden hose was left on was evacuated, but it was later determined that it was safe to return to.

"It is a very localized slope failure, we want the people who are on other slopes around Provo to rest a little bit easy tonight," Schofield said.

Some neighbors said it's tough to rest easy when the city continues to allow property owners to build houses into the hillside.

"It was obvious to anybody that they should never be moving the dirt around there but anything for money nowadays," Dahl said.

"Forget about building a house there,"said neighbor Jack Burns. "Take your losses because it's going to happen again."

Currently, Provo is awaiting geo-technical engineers to assess the hillside and see if it's still stable enough to continue building the house.