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Man shut out of home after hill collapse

October 2, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
For the last three years, life for Michael Murray and his wife has been tough. After the hillside gave way behind their Diamond Bar home in 2005, they city deemed it too dangerous to live in. So it was red-tagged.The Murrays defied the city of Diamond Bar and they stayed anyway.

Murray says the city cut off their electricity and water for good.

"I have the water in my swimming pool that I pump out for the toilets and to take a shower. And I bought a generator for electricity," said Murray.

The Murrays are one of four families whose lives were suddenly disrupted when the hillside crumbled. The families who lived in the other red-tagged homes moved out.

The Murrays hoped and prayed the hillside would be fixed sooner than later. So far, it has been later and later.

"It's very difficult because, you know, you don't have drinking water ... You have to go get drinking water. It's been a real pain," said Murray. "You don't have electricity at night. You don't have anything."

"The city has settled with us on the hillside -- to repair this hillside. And the neighbor next door to me, the Bank of America has settled, along with insurance companies. So we're just waiting on our attorneys to fix this hillside," continued Murray.

However, Murray says attorneys have convinced other families to hold out and sue the company responsible for shoring up the hillside. Those families declined to speak to Eyewitness News.

The families are suing Kleinfelder, the construction and engineering company that built the hillside. Kleinfelder did not respond to calls from Eyewitness News.

Murray says he isn't backing the suit because it's just going to drag things out a lot longer.

"I want this hillside fixed now. I really do," said Murray. "I feel the city could've forced -- once they've supplied the money -- they could've forced this repair."

The city is suing Kleinfelder to recover the money it settled and gave the affected families. The only thing city officials would tell Eyewitness News is that they want the hillside fixed as much as the residents do.

Murray says he has had enough and is moving out of his home and renting an apartment.

 

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