A self-storage facility in Anchorage, Alaska, suffered damage last week from a mudslide caused by a water-line break at an adjacent condominium complex. The bluff above AAA Muldoon Mini Storage at 7801 Peck Ave. gave way about 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 14, spewing mud and debris down the slope.
Residents at Victoria Hills heard a bang Sunday evening and woke up the next day without water. Hundreds of gallons of water poured from a break in a crawlspace beneath the condos and out onto the bank. Water then flowed from the broken line onto Peck and Muldoon Roads, according to Sandy Baker, spokeswoman for Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility (AWWU).
“It was caving in,” said Mark Nelson, owner of AAA Muldoon Mini. “It just started washing away.”
The 30-foot-wide slide left three to four feet of now-frozen mud tapering a foot deep onto the storage property. A back stairwell was also damaged. “It pushed two of the storage containers, one of which slammed into the back of the main building,” Nelson said.
The Anchorage Fire Department arrived around 9:45 a.m. and evacuated nearby buildings until AWWU turned off the water, according to fire chief Jodie Hettrick. Condo residents were allowed back into their residences following an inspection, said Ross Noffsinger, a city building official. The water was restored at 5 p.m. the same day.
Authorities believe a magnitude 5.0 aftershock might have been a factor in the incident. Southcentral Alaska has experienced thousands of these aftershocks since a 7.0 earthquake on Nov. 30. “All of these residual earthquakes continue to put pressure on lines,” Baker said. “So, it’s possible—nobody’s saying for sure because nobody knows for sure—but it’s possible that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
The plumber who repaired the faulty 2-inch water line said it was “an old pipe that finally went out,” according to a representative of the condo association. About two dozen people live in the complex.
Anchorage Daily News, 'It Was Caving In’: Broken Water Line Triggers Mudslide Below Muldoon Condos