(POWAY, Calif.) — A boulder, estimated to weigh 12 tons, rolled into a house in Poway, Calif. Thursday, wiping out its garage, crushing gas and electric lines, and barely missing a propane tank.
Poway Fire Department officials said the boulder was apparently dislodged during heavy rains Thursday, and traveled about 300 feet before crashing into the San Diego County home.
“I heard a loud booming sound and the walls of my house were shaking … I rushed to the patio and then the garage and that’s when I saw a big hole,” said Janielle Gendelman, who lived alone in the house with her dog and two cats. “My gosh! Pieces of the siding of the garage were sticking… It was a disaster! I saw the washing machine upside down.”
Kevin Hitchcock, fire division chief for the Poway fire department, told ABC News, “It is not clear what caused the boulder to come loose, but it could have been the torrents of rain.”
Poway firefighters said they put a rescue plan into effect. “First, we made sure there were no injuries, we secured the leaks in the propane and electric lines and sent out a MATS [Mercury and Air Toxics Standards] unit to contain the toxic leaks from pesticides and gasoline products stored in the garage,” said Hitchcock.
“This is my family home,” Gendelman said in an interview with ABC News. “I grew up here.”
Deanna McGough, who has lived nearby for 10 years, said that rolling boulders are not new in the area. “Three years ago a boulder rolled into a house in this neighborhood,” McGough told ABC News. “And occasionally I see boulders on the sides of the street.”
Hitchcock said the rock that hit Gendelman’s house was more than 5 feet high and 5 to 6 feet wide. It was made of granite. “We’re still not sure how it will be removed from the garage,” he said. “Most likely it will have to be pulled out of the garage with a cable because it can’t be drilled where it is.”
Gendelman said she is not sure if her home insurance would cover all the expenses to repair the damage. “I was told by my agent that they might not cover the damage. This is really upsetting because this is my only home and I had to pay extra to insure against damage from natural disasters like earthquakes,” she said tearfully. “I mean, what will I do with this big rock in my garage? Can’t they at least seal the walls?”
ABC News contacted Gendelman’s insurer. The company confirmed that it is aware of Gendelman’s claim and is looking into it.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Susan Scutti, CNN
Seth Fiegerman, CNN
Madison Park, Keith Allen and Andreas Preuss, CNN