The potential landslide in Jackson has already caused cracks in the pavement and hillside, with breaking waterlines causing the ground to get more unstable by the minute. We spent the day in Jackson getting a behind the roadblock tour of the damage so far, and learned what crews working around the clock fear most: rain.
“It has the potential to cause more movement so it raises our concern across the board for any incident,“ said Chief Willy Watsabaugh of the Jackson Fire Department.
As Mother Nature threatens to crumble, the Jackson Police Department, EMS, and Fire teams are doing their best to keep it all together.
Lieutenant Cole Nethercott of Jackson PD told us, “Basically, public safety is our biggest concern. We feel we have a duty to keep people out of the area until we have a better idea of exactly what’s happening.”
The houses that are considered in the high risk zone have already been evacuated, and for good reason. The asphalt around them has already raised about 8 inches in the past week.
“We may not be able to come back for them if something happens,” added Lieutenant Nethercott, “we just make that clear to them and it’s easier if everyone’s not here from a security stand point, and rescue standpoint if it comes to that, but we understand people have a right to be in their homes.”
For the most part, the homeowners on the hillside have complied with the police department’s request, and now just join with the rest of Jackson holding their breath until the next piece of news, or ground, breaks.
“It’s kind of a slow process when we’re dealing with geology. They have to do a lot of technical readings and stuff and we have to be sure, but I anticipate that the anxiety and frustration levels will go up but we understand that and we work hard to provide alternate solutions to housing,” said Lieutenant Nethercott.
Red Cross, Department of Family Services, and Workforce Services are at the library in Jackson to help those that are displaced from their homes, and the police department has set up a system of escorts up the hill for people needing to get into their houses for short amounts of time through this weekend, and after that residents will have to set up appointments starting next week until the end of the evacuation.