Cleanup Begins After Retaining Wall Collapse Swallows Several Cars On 26th Street
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Catastrophic landslide. There is incredible new video of a block-long collapse along E. 26th Street onto CSX railroad tracks below.
Meghan McCorkell has the latest on the cleanup.
Officials say their main focus is clearing debris from the railroad tracks so CSX trains can begin running again.
“We had a briefing, we’ve spoken to CSX,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said. “They are focused on moving the debris and hope to start train service again starting this evening.”
After-work crowds gather to get a look at what’s left of 26th Street.
“The water is no joke. Mother Nature’s a very, very powerful force,” said Darryl Morgan.
A backhoe lifts cars like toys. Eight vehicles plummeted down onto the CSX tracks in the landslide. Tim Rogers watched as his disappeared.
“I was just sitting there like this, thinking to myself, ‘What am I going to do right now?’” he said.
A Honda Civic that hung over the edge overnight was pulled to safety Thursday morning.
The closed roads are creating a major hassle for local businesses.
“Parking is really hard around here. My client had to walk 15 minutes just to get here. She had to park several streets over,” said Zarah Charm, business owner.
Businesses aren’t the only ones affected. Margaret Brent Elementary School was closed for the day, but family members say they can only imagine what would have happened if the children were walking across the street and onto the sidewalk as the collapse happened.
“Thousands and hundreds of kids could have gotten hurt if they were walking home from school on that street,” said Taylor DeBarge.
Officials say it could take eight to 10 days to stabilize the area. Gas, water and wastewater services have all been turned off.
“We’ll have contractors who will be working around the clock to restore utility services,” said William Johnson, Department of Transportation.
“They’re going to be putting down shoring, which will prevent further erosion from underneath the road or the houses,” said Ian Brennan, Baltimore City Fire Department.
Neighbors in 19 homes along E. 26th Street were evacuated. City officials say they do not have a solid timeline for exactly when those neighbors could be back in their homes, but it could take weeks.
Homeowners are furious the problem wasn’t dealt with sooner.
“We would not park on that side of the street for that reason,” said Sharon Zitzer. “We knew it was going to happen.”
Now they wait to see when they can go home.
The mayor plans to meet with evacuated neighbors Friday morning.
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Engineers have been sent to other CSX walls around the city to evaluate them. Charles Street will remain closed until testing is done.
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