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Hillside collapses into building below

PROVO, Utah (ABC4 - Utah) The major storm that hit Provo on Saturday decided collapsed a hillside, sending mud, rocks, and water rushing into a business below.
PROVO, Utah (ABC4 - Utah) The major storm that hit Provo on Saturday decided collapsed a hillside, sending mud, rocks, and water rushing into a business below.

“The mountain just came down,” said Stephen Felt, a structural architect for Middlebury Interactive Languages. “Like a rockslide inside the building.”

Felt was at his kids’ soccer game Saturday when the storms rolled in. They decided it would be better to ride out the storm at work, rather than drive home.

“When we got here, there was water and rock gushing out from behind the building,” said Felt.

If he had arrived just a few minutes earlier, he would have been sitting in the room where rocks broke through the wall.

“We grabbed the most essential things, like backup hardware,” said Felt.

Water, mud, rocks, and even tree branches now cover the entire building. Lines nearly two feet up the wall show how high the water rose.

“We think it's structurally sound,” said Greg Strong, property manager for the building. “But until we can extricate the rock and mud inside the building, we won't know for sure.”

Just how did an entire hillside collapse? Greg Beckstrom with the City of Provo says 15 city blocks drain through the corner of 900 North and Grand Ave.

“This is about as big a rainstorm as we've ever seen,” said Beckstrom, who has also lived in the neighborhood for nearly three decades. Beckstrom says even though the storm drainage was redone six years ago, it just could not stand when an inch of rain came in a half hour.

Some people told ABC4 they had seen leaking from the storm drainage just a week ago, but the City of Provo says it was structurally sound when the rain hit.

“Bottom line, you don’t design for a 50 year event,” said Beckstrom. “It was pretty intense and just unbelievable volume.”

Provo started the clean up process, moving rocks and debris from the area. They're hopeful to have this mess cleaned up in the next few days. Until then, 900 North and Grand will be closed.

They are also working to remove the stairs at Lion Park, which were also damaged in the storm.

Provo is asking residents to take any downed trees or green waste to the solid waste district. The city says they'll cover those costs. To report any damage, email September7Storm@gmail.com

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