EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Rock walls are the most common type of walls in El Paso. However, during rainstorms some of those rock walls fail and fall.

Over the weekend a rock wall directly behind a West El Paso apartment complex collapsed. According to the El Paso Fire Department when the wall collapsed it fell into apartments damaging the back wall, displacing 20 residents.

By looking back through KTSM 9 News archived we found videos of a retaining wall on Wedgewood that completely fell in 2021.

Also, back in 2021, a rock wall gave out and water rushed into a home in Central El Paso where and grandmother and granddaughter drowned.

An El Paso rock wall builder, Tony Avila says he gets an increase in calls regarding damaged rock walls when it rains.

“The worst enemy for a rock wall is the moisture, water, anything that has to deal with moisture and its gets into the wall that’s going to damage your wall,” said Tony Avila the owner of Tony Avila Rockwall Inc. “After a big rain we probably get five, six calls of this happening.”

Showing KTSM crews a home in West El Paso where the rock retaining wall fell, leaving a gaping hole in the backyard.

Collapsed rock wall at home in West El Paso

“Overnight probably about two weeks ago, when we started getting those big rains, the wall just collapsed because it was holding too much water in that corner,” said Avila.

The wall that fell at the residence in West El Paso, Avila says that the wall was too thin. He says the width of a rock wall should be around half the height.

“10 feet (height of wall) so your base needs to be more than half, which is at least five and a half to six feet wide on the bottom so if it’s not this way, it’s not built correctly,” said Avila.

He adds that 90 percent of the homes in El Paso have some type of rock wall as it is the most readily available material in El Paso as it comes from the Franklin Mountains.

“The procedure is the same, were still building the same way they used to build them in the 20, 30’s were still building them the same way,” said Avila.

One El Pasoan with a rock wall says he had his wall looked at recently due to visible cracks.

“I have a long wall and the cement was crumbling in it pretty badly so I had a man come by and he spent almost a whole week putting in new cement and taking out the old cement so it wouldn’t get old and tumble down,” said Charles Murphree who lives in West El Paso.

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