ROYALTON, N.Y. (WIVB) — A family’s truck slid into Tonawanda Creek and their house isn’t too far behind.
First responders say the homeowner was inside the house on Tonawanda Creek Road Wednesday afternoon around 4:30 when he saw the truck had slid down the embankment and the back of his yard also slid down about 12 feet.
The barn behind the house is also close to falling in the creek as well.
The homeowner got out safely but his house is likely a total loss.
“Unfortunately there’s nothing we can do at this time. We’ve made the notification we can make right now. The next step is to find out if we can get emergency demolition on the structure and get any stabilization of that bank,” said Rapids fire chief Aaron Bair.
He said he’s concerned it’ll collapse even more overnight with the heavy rains ahead.
“It’s something that we don’t see every day, we train for a lot of unknowns. There was a similar call for the Erie County side of Tonawanda Creek a few years back, the homeowner there also lost their home.”
Jonathan Schultz is the director of emergency services in Niagara County and has dealt with similar situations along Lake Ontario in Olcott and Wilson.
“We’ve had some residences close to going into the water with lake water rising and ice caused a lot of erosion kind of a similar situation you see here, but this one is kind of unexpected. Talking with the homeowner he did see some cracking in the soil earlier today but then when it did go down it was unexpected,” Schultz said.
His suggestion to people living along the water is to constantly monitor for any changes to the property.
“Homeowners need to keep an eye on their property they know it better than anyone else, keep an eye on the structure inside too if you start to see cracks forming on the walls, foundations things like that, maybe that’s when you need to bring out the local building inspector.”
The truck was still in the water as of Wednesday evening and first responders said it wasn’t leaking.
National Grid was also on scene and shut off power and gas to the house.
The next step for the homeowners is to work with engineers to figure out the cause, find out where the water is coming from, and stabilize the creek.
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