Retaining wall collapses, displaces neighbors in Hot Springs

Local News

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – A Catalina Cove apartment complex is on dangerous ground following a retaining wall collapse Saturday morning. 

People who live there had to be evacuated and safety concerns mean the area still isn’t cleared up. For neighbors who are used to spending their summers on the lake, the break is a devastating blow.

Les Saville has been visiting his vacation home in the complex on Catalina Circle for over a decade. 

“We started our first year in ’07,” Saville explained. “This will be the first one we won’t spend on the lake.”

At about 9 am April 24th, Hot Springs Police received a call for a collapsed retaining wall at the Catalina Cove apartments.

Neighbors were reported to have heard cracking and bangs as early as 5 am. The collapse took out a series of porches and balconies on the complex’s building C, and dragged dirt all the way to the downstairs doors of building D. 

No injuries were reported, as most people who were living in the apartments had already headed out for the day. 

But the area is still unstable, and building C is hanging on the edge of the collapsed land. “Our primary interest right now is to secure the C building that’s on the hill,” Saville said, as heavy rains forecasted for Wednesday could lead the building to slide down the hill into the other apartments. 

Those rains have already done enough. Saville believes poor drainage under the concrete wall and a recent influx of showers led to the collapse.

“The soil just got heavier and heavier and heavier,” Saville said, “and finally, the wall exploded.”

Now, the 14 property owners are out of a home, and there’s no telling when the complex will be back in operating order. In the meantime, HSPD and HSFD urge people to stay away from the area. 

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