Church, houses destroyed; flooding, evacuations followed.
Keystone Apostolic Church and three houses near Charleston, W.Va., were destroyed by a landslide last Thursday.
The structures were located at the base of a man-made 242-foot-high reinforced hill that was constructed in 2007 to make room for a runway extension to comply with the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) safety requirements at Yeager Airport.
The reinforced slope/runway project was recognized by the 2007 International Achievement Awards (IAA), sponsored annually by the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI); and it was featured in a Geosynthetics article (Feb./March, 2008) that cited three IAA award-winning projects.
The airport landslide completely blocked nearby Elk Twomile Creek, causing floodwaters to flow into parts of the residential area at the base of the hillside. By Friday, crews had cleared a path for the swollen creek and floodwater levels were going down.
There were no injuries at the landslide site, but many residents were required to move out of their homes. No flights were delayed or cancelled at Yeager Airport.
By Friday night, monitors reported that there was no significant movement of the hillside or the slide area, despite continuing rainfall.
Airport officials said consulting engineers are on site but cautioned against any speculation regarding landslide causes.