Looking for a Solid Fix in Pacifica

Residents of an apartment building teetering on a crumbling cliffside in Pacifica are asking for the federal government's help but it's very unlikely they'll be getting it.

Crews working to save the building on Esplande Avenue sprayed concrete onto the five foot section of soil where the nails were drilled over the weekend. They'll repeat the process until the entire cliff is covered in concrete. It's a last ditch effort to keep the entire hillside from crumbling, sending the building into the ocean.

Rep. Jackie Speier and FEMA's regional director toured the all-but-doomed structure on Monday. Speier says federal funds are not available to help save the building because the erosion has been going on for so long.

Speier met with city and state representatives who say that if emergency measures have to be taken to preserve public property and residents, there's a possibility state funds may be available.

Tony Fortunato, the lead engineer on the job to save the building, estimates the work to shore up the cliff will cost $6 million and take about two months. The building's owners have already sunken more than $500,000 to stack boulders at the base of the eroding cliff.

Fortunato and his crew are sure their work will put a halt to Mother Nature's destruction but told the Contra Costa Times that a "permanent" fix doesn't seem realistic, given the location of the apartment buildings.

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