A geological fault is suspected to have caused the collapse of nine houses in Tijuana since Saturday, while 15 more are at risk of suffering the same fate.
In total, more than 60 homes in the Reforma neighborhood of the border city have been affected by ground instability that residents first noticed around two weeks ago.
Municipal authorities have since ordered the evacuation of all homes at risk of collapse.
Tijuana Civil Protection director José Rito Portugal said that a 2014 risk assessment report shows there is a geological fault at a distance of 200 meters from the affected houses.
However, he added that it was too early to say definitively that the fault is the cause of the collapses.
“The urban administration division [of the Tijuana council] will be responsible for conducting the necessary tests to determine what happened. Preliminarily we can say that it could be the continuation of a land slippage that was already present in this area, but we’re waiting [to see],” Rito said.
Isabel Corona, whose home of 40 years has partially collapsed, told the newspaper El Universal that it’s not the first time that houses in the area have fallen.
“. . . Around 18 years ago, about 30 houses collapsed, only those were on the other side of the hill,” she said.
Corona’s architect son Ricardo has also lost his home.
He told El Universal that a friend who is a civil engineer assessed his home and others in the area on July 9 and warned that they that were at risk of collapse.
However, unlike other nearby homes, Ricardo’s house didn’t have any cracks in its walls.
He explained that it wasn’t until he noticed that the doors wouldn’t shut that he realized the collapse was imminent.
“I thought: ‘this is really going to fall,’ which is why I started to pack my things, my documents, I didn’t know how much time I had until everything would fall,” Ricardo said.
“Material things are material things and can be recovered. Here what hurts and what’s important are the memories, where I grew up and where I watched my children grow up.”
Source: El Universal (sp)