BURNABY -- Cleanup efforts are underway to remove debris and concrete slabs covering a portion of an alley in a Burnaby North neighbourhood.

The mudslide happened Thursday morning when a retaining wall suddenly broke, bringing down dirt and debris.

Thomas Tricarico, who lives just steps from the slide, said he was startled by a noise around 7 a.m.

"I heard this crash, a thunder-type thudding noise, and I thought it was kind of odd," he said.

He said it was dark and he didn't notice the slide from his vantage point, but he was notified a couple of hours later by a neighbour.

"We were fortunate that it didn't affect us directly as much – except for the water overflow from the mountain and the gully being backed up," he said. "It was a mess, obviously – still is a mess."

Tricarico said he's house-sitting for his neighbours who are on vacation, adding they were shocked when they heard the news.

He said their property sustained the most damage, with the mudslide destroying a part of the garage, but luckily it didn't go into the actual house.

At the time, officials said people in six homes were evacuated as a precaution. The evacuation was lifted late Thursday afternoon after it was deemed safe to return.

But not everyone returned home right away. BC Hydro cut power as another safety measure and electricity was not restored until Friday.

Stella Peng, another resident, said the ordeal created a big inconvenience.

"We were out of electricity for more than one day and it happens to be Chinese New Year, so we had a lot of trouble preparing food," she said.

A crew member on site told CTV News the cleanup process will be "slow and tedious" because breaking down the slabs of concrete takes time and they need to carefully excavate the mud to ensure they don't accidentally trigger another slide.

He estimates the cleanup will be completed in about a week.

The cause of the mudslide is still under investigation.