A residential water line broke under the driveway of a South Pasadena home in the 1800 block of Hanscom Drive this past Tuesday night resulting in a massive response that included 14 first-responder units, about 40 firefighters, and three urban search and rescue units.

“We responded to what was first called a technical rescue,” So Pas Fire Chief Paul Riddle said Wednesday morning. “We responded in an overabundance of caution because we were concerned that the driveway which was the main entrance to the three-story home could cause the house to slide down the hill.”

That did not happen. However, the home’s driveway at 1853 Hanscom Drive did sink considerably caused by the broken water pipe underneath. The water line was from the street to the house and was capped. The gas line was shut off as well, according to Riddle. The home also was deemed uninhabitable and was red-tagged and the homes on either side and two homes below were also yellow-tagged. The residents vacated the premises and found suitable housing elsewhere, Riddle said.

Two structural engineers have examined the property and there has been no movement since the initial sinking. The homes remain red-tagged and yellow-tagged as of Wednesday morning.

“We have been monitoring the situation overnight and I checked on the property earlier this morning,” Riddle said. “The homeowner has contacted their private insurance and they are going to have a structural engineer examine the situation.”

Meanwhile, the response was massive.Neighbors reported seeing two helicopters overhead as well as numerous fire engines along the narrow, hilly streets of South Pasadena. This area has been a cause for concern for first-responders in the past because of access challenges, what with the hillside, narrow streets, and park cars. That was not an issue Tuesday night because several fire apparatuses were staged down below off the hill. When it was determined the extra engines and personnel were not needed they were released without having to ascend up the steep narrow road, according to Riddle.

Officials were scheduled to meet with the homeowners Wednesday to see if residents can return to the yellow-tagged homes, Riddle said.

There have been no reports of injuries connected to the incident, Riddle said.

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Steve Whitmore is the editor for the South Pasadena Review. Steve has spent more than four decades as an award-winning print and broadcast journalist with a 16-year stint as the senior media advisor for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Steve comes to us from the Keene Sentinel in Keene, New Hampshire, where he covered politics and was a columnist.

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