Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include additional comments from the City of San Clemente and from those associated with the impacted apartments.
Residents of multiple apartment structures facing the ocean near Dije Court Beach were evacuated on Wednesday morning, March 15, after a landslide occurred in the rear cliffside, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.
Firefighters were sent to the 1500 block of Buena Vista, after a call came in at 8:18 a.m., to ensure that people were evacuated from the residences. No injuries have been reported.
The four apartment complexes along Buena Vista have been yellow-tagged, as confirmed by the City of San Clemente.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department and nearby utility companies are assisting in the search process to determine the extent of the landslide’s damage and what to do next, according to OCFA Public Information Officer Thanh Nguyen.
San Clemente – Three apartment structures in the 1500 block of Buena Vista have been evacuated due to a landslide in the rear. Firefighters arrived and began a search of the homes to ensure everyone was evacuated. The call came in at 8:18 AM.
See below for closure information. pic.twitter.com/dKjITErR4A
— OCFA PIO (@OCFireAuthority) March 15, 2023
Robert Heumann, a San Juan Capistrano resident, was present at one of the buildings, helping his son remove belongings from his residence, including a parakeet. He said all his son heard in the morning was a lot of noise, as the back deck in his building broke off.
“There was a big old crunch, a banging noise and rumbling,” Heumann said. “Almost an explosion or something.”
Next door, building owner Clayton Robinson said everyone in his building, at least 15 people, all heard a loud noise at around 7:30 a.m. His tenants were happy to be able to get up and leave safely, they told him.
“(The bottom is) completely gone,” said Robinson. “Well, it’s not gone, it’s just at the bottom of the hill. The whole thing went down.”
The damage came right up to where the property’s swimming pool was.
A stretch of Buena Vista is closed from Calle Colina to Avenida Florencia, as is the portion of the Beach Trail below.
A San Clemente spokesperson said Buena Vista will be reopened later in the day on Wednesday, and the trail area will be closed for a few weeks.
This is a developing story.