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COVINGTON, Ky. -- A water and gas line break forced rescue crews to evacuate four homes in the Latonia community of Covington on Dec. 13, 2013. (Photo by Christian Hauser)
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Displaced for six weeks and counting Four families still displaced by wall collapse
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Six weeks later, Latonia families still displaced by wall collapse

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Homes evacuated after water main, gas line break

COVINGTON, Ky. -- Six weeks after a retaining wall gave way, residents of a Covington community are still unable to return to their homes.

The problem started on Dec. 13 in Latonia when road work involving water main and gas lines damaged a retaining wall along Caroline Avenue near 34th Street.

Four houses were evacuated and the families have not been allowed home yet. Caroline Avenue is also closed to vehicle traffic.

Officials with the City of Covington and the Northern Kentucky Water District said crews gathered data on the issue and worked to prevent any more damage to the wall and hillside.

City officials said they hoped to have enough work done to get the families back in their homes by this week, but that hasn’t happened.

Attorney Gailen Bridges, who represents the four families, said it could be another week or two before his clients are back in their homes -- two full months since the wall collapsed.

“It’s frustrating for everybody," Bridges said.

That includes Peggy Owings, who is among those displaced. She and her dog, Angel, have a place to stay, but it's no place like home.

"It's not like having your own home and being able to do what you please, when you please, and what time you please to do it," she said.

Although she is thankful to stay with her niece and nephew, she's ready to get back to the house she's called home since before the end of World War II.

"Who knows how long it's going to be, but I know and I'd bet my life on it, that we won't be in there by the end of this month," Owings said.

So far, no legal action has been taken.

"One lady's house was broken into this week, and her belongings ransacked, they just feel helpless," Bridges said.

Bridges said the city is meeting next week to talk about the situation. But for Owings and her neighbors, the doubt has started to overcome the hope. 

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