Washington State Mudslide Updates: Prayer Service Friday, Lawsuit Ahead [PHOTOS]
Hundreds gather for a prayer service on Friday; litigators get set to examine potential of lawsuits from the massive mudslide.
Prayer Service on Friday, April 4, 2014:
ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP) — Gov. Jay Inslee was among several hundred people who gathered Friday night for an interdenominational prayer service honoring the victims, families and rescuers affected by the deadly March 22 mudslide in the Washington town of Oso.
Hanging at the front of the middle school gym where the service took place was a large banner that simply said “Together.” KING-TV reports that clergy involved in planning the Arlington, Wash., event wanted to reflect the connection among neighbors not only in Oso but in nearby Arlington and Darrington.
The audience twice gave standing ovations to first responders who continue to search the debris for missing people.
Arlington Fire Chief Bruce Stedman told the crowd that “nobody, and I mean nobody, could be prepared for what we encountered.”
As of Friday, the toll stood at 30 people dead and 13 missing in the landslide that buried the community of Oso, about 55 miles northeast of Seattle.
(Story by: The Associated Press with reporting by KING-TV; minor editing by WIBX)
Unclear Washington landslide lawsuits could win
SEATTLE (AP) — Despite years of prior warnings that a Washington state hillside could collapse, it’s not clear any government agencies will face liability in a court of law.
Some victims of the slide that killed at least 30 people northeast of Seattle last month said they didn’t know about the danger and are interested in suing. Such cases can be tough to win.
Generally, municipalities in Washington state are not liable for landslide damages except in narrow circumstances, such as if an agency specifically tells the residents they’re safe before a slide, or if an agency takes it upon itself to fix a hazard but actually makes the danger worse.
Another option might be to sue the logging company that clear-cut a small section of the plateau above the hillside, though it’s unclear whether that logging could have helped cause the slide.
(Story by: Gene Johnson, The Associated Press)