Crews clearing Mount Wilson rock slide

MOUNT WILSON (KABC) The progress is very good. The rock slide was nearly cleared mid-afternoon Monday. But the road to Mount Wilson remains closed.

Sandra Smith and her family live on Mt. Wilson -- the mountain with all of the television and radio towers on it. The Smiths are among a handful of families that live up there. The Smiths left just before the rock slide, and now can't get back home.

"We left for a Super Bowl party and got a phone call saying that we wouldn't be able to make it back home because there was a rock slide and it was impassable," said Sandra Smith.

Smith's husband works for the County Public Works Dept., which maintains the road. They say slides here are not unusual, but most just cover a portion of the road. This slide totally blocked the road, requiring heavy equipment to move the rocks.

"[Rock slides occur] every day, basically," said Britt Brasseal, L.A. County Public Works. "This proportion, though, that's some pretty large boulders up there."

"And it affects mostly the technicians on the hill with all the radio and television towers?"

"That's correct," said Brasseal.

"How many people actually live up there?"

"We have a Public Works family living up there and there's a couple other families on top. I'm not sure exactly how many people live up there other than what we're involved in. There's a few technicians that work in the stations," said Brasseal.

By afternoon, it was apparent the front-loader couldn't move about six of the bigger boulders, so another machine was brought in to break them up.

In the meantime, Sandy Smith made other plans. "I stayed at my sister-in-law's house, and had a sleepover with my kids, and I took my kids to school this morning, and my husband works for the county, so we went up and checked it out, feed our dogs, see if we could get some clothes," said Smith.

"So you walked across the slide?"

"No, I did not. He did," said Smith.

Among those inconvenienced by the slide Sunday were the scientists and technicians who operate the Mount Wilson Observatory. Eyewitness News was told that they have plenty of food and plenty of shelter up there; they're used to this sort of thing because these slides are not uncommon. They're ready for a long stay, but this one won't be so long.


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