NORTH SALT LAKE (ABC 4 Utah) - Nearly a week after escaping with just the clothes on their back, the family whose house collapsed in the August 5th landslide was able to retrieve many of their possessions on Monday.
North Salt Lake City officials allowed members of the Utrilla family to get their clothes, valuables and important documents, including passports.
"This was a very important step for the family," family spokesman David Utrilla said. David is the son and brother of the house's owners.
The recovery effort expanded with the help of neighbors and lasted over three hours before wrapping up around 7:30 p.m. Trucks and SUVs left loaded with clothing, art, toys and electronics, including a big-screen television.
"We began pulling stuff out of the house and at that point it became obvious as we went through that we could get more and more stuff," North Salt Lake City Manager Barry Edwards said. "So from that it bloomed into 'Let's just get everything out of the house that we possibly could'."
At times, family members screamed and cheered when a favorite item was found.
"There are 12 people living in that home and every single person have their own sentimental value for different things," Utrilla told ABC4 News. "So what you were hearing was cheers from a particular person saying 'Oh I found my toy' or 'I found my documents' 'I found my medicine'."
Utrilla, the honorary Peruvian consul in Salt Lake City, said things have been looking up for the family with Sky Properties promising to build them a new house last Friday and now being reunited with their belongings.
"They go through their ups and downs but this is a huge deal," Utrilla said. "The personal belongings, the things that were of sentimental value was very important so I think after today they are going to be much better for sure."
Meanwhile a pair of track hoes worked to move dirt away from the slope and build a road so that a drill rig can test the hillside.
"It looks like now there's a couple of days for those potential rains," Edwards said. "So we're watching that very very closely so that's why these guys are up here right now and they'll probably keep working. We should have our drill rig up there tomorrow. Hopefully it will take a while for this weather to builld and we should be able to make some progress."
Three homes remain in immediate danger, one vacant and one evacuated here on Parkway Drive and one up above on Parkway Circle.