2 empty suburban Utah homes collapse down hill; nobody hurt

DRAPER, UTAH — Two dangerously unstable homes whose occupants were ordered to evacuate six months ago collapsed down a hill Saturday in suburban Salt Lake City.

No one was injured when the unoccupied houses on the edge of the hill broke apart early in the day in Draper, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Salt Lake City. Officials say the homes had been in danger due to sliding that resulted from shifting ground and breaks in their foundations.

Two other nearby residences were evacuated for safety reasons afterward. With the winter snowpack melting amid the spring thaw, authorities said other homes in the neighborhood will also be evaluated.

The collapses were documented in videos taken by police officers and firefighters, who went to the scene after sections of a retaining wall holding back soil fell apart and the homes began making noises.

At one, metal fell from the porch ceiling moments before the second story fell backward down the hill. The other home sank downward and slid down the slope, leaving little left of the structure.

City officials had issued an evacuation order in late October and said they followed up with the developer, Edge Homes, for months on engineering studies of the stability of the area.

Edge Homes did not immediately respond to a call and text message seeking comment.

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