Family moving on after landslide collapses backyard in Florence, NJ

FLORENCE, N.J. (WPVI) -- Talk about living on the edge.

For almost four months now, Chris O'Dell and his wife Lynne have been dealing with a landslide in their backyard and a neighbor's - something that's totally disrupted their lives.

Officials in Florence Township, New Jersey are permitting them to be in their Front Street home during the day, but they can't sleep there at night.

"We've been nomads since it all started - constantly moving here and there, staying with friends and family wherever we are offered," said Lynne.

It was back in April when a leaky storm drain pipe is believed to have caused the collapse of the backyards. The collapse threatened to swallow two homes overlooking the Delaware River.

Burlington County has made an offer to pay market value for the houses. The O'Dells don't want to share the numbers, but say they've been packing boxes and a deal is close.

"We don't have a hard date for a closing date or anything like that right now, but we need to hammer out the details," said Chris.

"It's very bittersweet. I'm looking forward to a conclusion and being able to move on with my life. At the same time I do not want to leave my home - so it's tough," said Lynne.

The O'Dells say since the county plugged up the leaky storm drain, the collapsing hillside has stabilized.

But the gaping hole in the ground has become a tourist attraction of sorts. There's now a beach at the bottom created by 70 feet of earth sliding into the river.

"We had to put no trespassing signs," said Chris.

It's been a difficult few months for the O'Dells who are now house hunting.

"Kind of now looking forward - instead of the sky is falling kind of thing, or the cliff is falling - however you want to look at it," said Chris.

The sale hasn't been completed yet, but the O'Dells say by the time the leaves are turning, they hope they can leave this behind and start life over again.
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