Man cleans up after giant boulder wrecks his business

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ALPINE, Calif. – A business owner in Alpine is cleaning up after a giant boulder came crashing down a hill into his building Sunday morning.

The massive rock – weighing more that 200,000 pounds - came to rest at the base of the building, inside the first floor of his equipment rental business, but the impact nearly collapsed the structure.

“There’s maybe a little chink up there,” said Scott Thomas, owner of Alpine Rentals. “A couple flakes up there, maybe those would fall – but that!” pointing to the giant rock sticking out of the building.

The owner spent Monday with insurance adjusters and surveying the damage.

He said there are a many rocks on the hill behind his property that could seem suspects.

“This rock right here didn’t really look much different to me. Does that look like its going fall down and go boom?" he said.

Large boulder smashes into corner of business in Alpine.
Large boulder smashes into corner of business in Alpine.

Thomas and his wife have been in business at this location in Alpine for 16 years and say they have never had a problem with mudslides or falling rocks before.

Then early Sunday morning, he was woken up by a call from a neighbor who said it looked like his roof was caving in.

“The firemen said if our building wasn’t made out of block the boulder would have been across the street and done a lot more damage,” Thomas said. “My office upstairs is now downstairs.”

But instead it lodged at the base of the building causing the rest of the structure to buckle. From the inside, the second floor office is a total loss.

Now, they must decide what to do with the roughly 200,000 pound rock. They already consulted with a crane operator who said the boulder is too big to move in one piece.

“It’s 12 feet, 11 feet by 15 feet and he’s got to get it down to about half the size to be able to lift it with his crane,” said

But he says, he may try to rebuild the building around the boulder. Either way they remain open for business during the process.

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