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Despite Warnings Residents Near Hillside Collapse Return Home

Authorities evacuated more than 20 homes on Piscataway Drive in Fort Washington in early May because a hillside collapsed, blocking a road and knocking out water and sewer service.

Authorities evacuated homes on Piscataway Drive in May because unstable ground collapsed and blocked the road and knocked out water and sewer service. Credit: PG County Fire Twitter Feed
Authorities evacuated homes on Piscataway Drive in May because unstable ground collapsed and blocked the road and knocked out water and sewer service. Credit: PG County Fire Twitter Feed

Some of the homeowners evacuated last month when a hillside and road collapsed in Prince George's County are returning to their homes – against the advice of county officials who warn the residents are on their own.

The Prince George’s County Office of Emergency Management on May 5 ordered the evacuation of residents from a section of 28 homes in the Piscataway Hills community near Fort Washington because of what the office called "slope failure" on Piscataway Drive caused by recent heavy rains.

Part of Piscataway Drive is still closed off after the road dropped four feet. Temporary water lines have been installed to homes.

Prince George’s county inspectors say the area is still unsafe because the wet clay that gave way will dry slowly. Repairs are likely to take months, reports WJZ TV.

The hillside collapse occurred over the weekend of May 3, collapsing a portion of Piscataway Drive, knocking out water main and sewer service. Further roadway collapse occurred May 5, authorities said.

A large chunk of earth in the subdivision slid downward, felling trees and buckling the road in the 13000 block of Piscataway Drive, said Scott Peterson, a spokesman for County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, told The Washington Post.

But 14 homeowners – tired of making mortgage payments while living elsewhere and skeptical of the warnings from county officials -- are returning to their homes this week, the TV station says. 

Those residents who have had temporary water lines installed say they will walk from the road up to their houses.

Immediately after the landslide, six houses were deemed unsafe, five above the crack and one below, and 22 others were deemed unfit because of water, road or power problems caused by the slope failure. 

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