Magnolia couple survives, dogs die in Perkins Lane landslide

SEATTLE — A Magnolia couple is recovering after a landslide slammed into their home, which then collapsed onto them.

They made it out of their Perkins Lane home alive. But their beloved dogs did not survive.

A lot of the community has come out to see the damage, the sight proving irresistible. After all, many of them live on the various hillsides around here. For many of the neighbors, this is their worst fear come true.

This is all that remains of the two-story home at 2400 Perkins Lane, after the hillside above gave way Friday afternoon.

“Thank God they were in the kitchen,” said Carol Silverstein. “They were together in the kitchen and dogs were in the living room. And then it just came down on them.”

A mother and son, close friends of the couple, described how it all unfolded.

“The first floor just kind of crumbled,” said Remy Olivier, “like cracked in half and came down on top of them. So this is the second floor. There is no first floor anymore.”

The calamity sparked a massive response.

Both the man and woman were trapped. She managed to crawl out of an opening in the debris, friends say. But Seattle firefighters had to rescue her husband, while simultaneously battling a propane tank fire.

Sadly, the couple’s dogs, Lily and Sam, died in the collapse.

“They’re in shock,” said Kevin Kenner. “That’s the only way to put it.”

Kenner, the best man at their wedding, says the couple had tried to shore up the hillside previously.

“A couple of years ago, they rebuilt the retaining wall behind there and spent a lot of money on that,” said Kenner. “Had it reengineered to add a lot of support.”

But Dr. Dave Montgomery, a University of Washington geologist, says the hillsides have been eroding since they were formed in the last ice age.

“And they’re going to keep doing that in the future,” said Dr. Montgomery. “But they only go, you know, a few feet every 100 years or so. But it can happen all at once. And so if it happens on your property, that’s a terrible thing.”

And it actually has been worse.

In the late 1990s, the cliff at the southern end of Perkins Lane gave way, and several million-dollar homes ended up in the Puget Sound.

This family’s next step is still not known.

A GoFundMe page has been set up on behalf of the couple.

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