ALEXANDRE DA SILVA / ADASILVA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Daniel O'Brien and Roberta Fujioka yesterday looked over the damage done to a neighbor's house when a boulder crashed into the Lanikai home early Sunday morning.
10-ton rock slams into Kailua home
The huge rock hits house, stops a few feet from bedroom
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An estimated 10-ton boulder that crashed through the sliding glass door of a home in Kailua has area residents worried about the stability of the Lanikai hill.
The boulder slid down a muddy hillside about 4 a.m. on a stormy Sunday and slammed into the home of Ron and Mary Beth Seiple. The couple said the state determined the rock came from their own property.
The rock's fall marked the third time a boulder has damaged homes on Oahu since heavy rains began Saturday. The other accidents happened in Palolo and in Aina Haina, according to the state.
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FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
This huge boulder remained in a doorway of a Lanikai house yesterday after it had careened down the hillside and crashed into a sliding glass door over the weekend. No one was injured, but there was extensive damage to the house.
Kailua resident Mary Beth Seiple was home alone and having trouble sleeping Saturday night during a heavy storm when a loud bang shook her out of bed for good.
Seiple, whose home rests on a Lanikai hillside, got up about 4 a.m. Sunday to find a boulder the size of a small car smashed against her living room, just a few feet from her bedroom. The boulder left a 100-yard path of toppled trees and brushes before it shattered a sliding glass door and became wedged between a fish pond and what was left of a rock wall.
"It was just a huge boom, with glass flying everywhere," Seiple said. "I knew that the door was gone, but I'm looking at that, and didn't have my glasses on, I'm looking at that ... and then it registered."
Seiple and her husband, Ron, who flew in from Kauai early Sunday, were consulting with a landscaper yesterday about possible ways to remove the boulder, which city and state officials determined came from the couple's property. The damage, including cracks on the wall of a downstairs room that flooded, would not be covered by insurance, the Seiples said.
Roger Compton, a volunteer with the American Red Cross, visited the home yesterday afternoon but said there was nothing the agency could do to help. On Sunday, the Red Cross served 75 meals to Kailua residents and firefighters who were pumping floodwaters and cleaning up homes, officials said.
"This is a little outside of what we normally do and the mission of the Red Cross," he said. "But disasters are disasters, and this is a disaster."
The wet weather is believed to have caused two other rock falls on Oahu, one in Palolo and another in Aina Haina, said Deborah Ward, spokeswoman for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. In both cases, the boulders also came from the homeowners' properties, she said.
Ward advised residents concerned about potentially unstable hills to look at their property maps or call the city or state to find out who has jurisdiction.
"We can help determine who owns the land above," she said. "If it is state land, than it's something we would likely follow up."
Ron Seiple said he owns about 3/4 of an acre uphill from his home, but that it's hard to know "where it stops up there." He said his next-door neighbors are away and clueless about what happened.
Sheila McCarthy, a Hawaii Pacific University student from Ireland who lives below the Seiples, said the boulder's impact set off an "earthquakelike" rumble. "It was that shuddering sound," said McCarthy, who hopes someone can study the threat of rock falls in the area.
Daniel O'Brien, a landscaper who was helping the Seiples, is thinking about drilling holes on the boulder to slowly break it apart, then use smaller pieces to build a protective wall above the home.
How effective that could be in blocking a similar boulder is another question. "A rock this size, I'm afraid, it would be like holding back a hurricane," he said. "It's unstoppable."