Fractured Cliff That Threatened Luxury Home Tumbles Into Texas Lake - NBC 10 Philadelphia
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Fractured Cliff That Threatened Luxury Home Tumbles Into Texas Lake

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    Hill County Emergency Management personnel are evaluating the brittle limestone cliff that partially collapsed and fell into the water at Lake Whitney on Sunday. (Published Thursday, May 14, 2015)

    Hill County Emergency Management personnel are evaluating the brittle limestone cliff that partially collapsed and fell into the water at Lake Whitney on Sunday.

    They are going to examine how the remaining cliff ledge is holding up under recent heavy rains and how nearby homes might be affected by further cliff erosion.

    "Looks like a butter knife cut it," said Hill County Emergency Manager Tom Hemrick. "I mean, I don't know how you could've got that to be any straighter than what that is."

    The cliff has been the subject of much debate after a cliffside home was abandoned after a giant fracture caused a portion of the land underneath the home to tumble into the lake. The home was condemned and set on fire in July 2014, leaving only the concrete slab behind.

    The fissure in the cliff continued to spread, however, threatening another luxury lakeside home.

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in March they were "very concerned with public safety," for both those living on the cliff and the boaters below, and were working with property owners toward a resolution.

    One plan included detonating the cliff to control when it fell into the lake, another, perhaps more elaborate plan, included inflating balloons dropped into the fissure to push it away from the cliff and into the lake.

    Any plan put into place, though, was to be paid by the property owners.

    Mother nature, apparently, stepped in to help. After a deluge of spring rain, including a number of storms that dropped several inches of rain over the last week, the cliff tumbled 75-feet into the lake below.

    "It went just exactly down the fault line," said homeowner Steve Mellgren. "And I couldn't be happier with the outcome."

    Mellgren's home sits near the once-dangling limestone cliff.

    "My house is built very well. Not a single ounce of, not one crack, not anything happened, everything good, came out great," he said.

    NBC 5's Kevin Cokely contributed to this report.