BALTIMORE (WJZ)—This week’s storms wreaked havoc all over the city, but a mudslide at a local cemetery led to an eerie scene: headstones overturned and a hillside wiped out.
Monique Griego has more on what was swept away.
While the pictures look bad, the cemetery’s caretaker says luckily the mudslide didn’t destroy any graves.
Sky Eye Chopper 13 captures the aftermath of a mudslide at the 200-year-old Western Cemetery in West Baltimore.
“It was just a trickle at first,” said John Brazee, caretaker. “Couple pieces of dirt, maybe a brick or so falling down.”
Then, within minutes, Brazee says the hill and headstones on it collapsed and slid away.
“It sounded like thunder. Everything just poured down,” Brazee said. “There was a dock that went all the way across here. Solid concrete. It buckled up and then it just filled in the hole.”
Once the hillside gave way, it destroyed, then entombed everything in its path. But the most disturbing site was what it left behind. Gravestones toppled over and the ground beneath them gone.
“My first reaction was ‘Wow! And thank God nobody got hurt,’” said Rev. Valerie Barnes, Beechfield United Methodist Church.
Barnes oversees the property for Beechfield United Methodist Church. She says the cemetery’s office has been inundated with calls from frantic families.
“They want to make sure their loves ones graves are in proper order and nothing has gone wrong. We’ve been able to let everyone know, no graves were disturbed,” Barnes said.
Luckily, the mudslide happened in the tombstone storage area. No bodies were buried there, and the headstones that toppled over were no longer in use because the bodies had been moved.
“It’s bad but nobody’s loved ones are in the hole. All our guests are still here,” Brazee said.
The hill slid so far it ended up covering the Gwynns Falls Trail.
The cemetery is working with the city to get that cleaned up and to also secure what’s left of the hill.
The cemetery is also looking in to getting a retaining wall to protect the area from future storms.
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