Corona residents have 'no idea' when they can return home after retaining wall collapse

Eight homes on San Diego Drive in Corona have been red tagged after a hillside retaining wall at the Monterey Villa Housing Community gave way Monday. 

"We have no idea when we'll be able to return home," one resident told FOX 11. The wall blocking off the upper street of the community collapsed, sending mud and bricks onto homes on the lower road. No one was injured, but the hillside is unstable enough that Corona Fire officials red tagged the homes, and they're keeping an eye on other ones on the same hill.

"I'm not surprised," said attorney Patrick Catalano, who represented six homes back in 2011, when the same thing happened to other homes in the same community. According to Catalano, the neighborhood was built many years ago and the codes for retaining walls have since changed. But, with no requirement that the walls be upgraded to satisfy the new codes, he said homeowners are sitting, literally, on oversaturated hillsides too weak for the support built to protect the houses.

SUGGESTED: Corona residents evacuated after retaining wall collapses

The only option, Catalano explained, is for homeowners on the lower street to sue the insurance companies of the homes on the street above them. That's what he did in 2011 and newer retaining walls were built, that are still holding. The homes were built over 10 years ago, he said, so they can't go after the original builder, since they followed the code at the time of construction.

Residents said they would like the City of Corona to send out soil engineers to look at the entire community.

"It's not going to get better," said Catalano, whose firm is getting calls from homeowners all over Southern California whose homes have been damaged from the recent storms.