5 Killed as Mud Sweeps Away Homes in California Burn Areas

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
January 9, 2018US News
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5 Killed as Mud Sweeps Away Homes in California Burn Areas
A fire truck drives through the wildfire damaged Coffey Park neighborhood as rain water pools where a home once stood, in Santa Rosa, Calif., on Jan. 8, 2018, (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

LOS ANGELES—At least five people were killed and homes were swept from their foundations Tuesday as heavy rain sent mud and rocks sliding down hills stripped of vegetation by Southern California’s recent wildfires.

Rescue crews used helicopters to lift people to safety because of blocked roads, and firefighters slogged through waist-high muck to pull a muddy 14-year-old girl out of the rubble of a home in Montecito, in Santa Barbara County, northwest of Los Angeles. She was taken away on a stretcher.

Five bodies were found in and around Montecito, Santa Barbara County Fire Department Capt. Dave Zaniboni said.

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Northbound traffic comes to a standstill on Interstate 5 freeway near the rushing water filled Los Angeles river near downtown Los Angeles on Dec. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

Several houses were destroyed, and residents were unaccounted for in neighborhoods hard to reach because of downed trees and power lines, he said.

“We’re performing multiple rescues. There will be more,” Zaniboni said, adding that some of those brought to safety were buried in mud. There was a backlog of scores of callers requesting help.

Crews worked to clear debris from roads across the Los Angeles metropolitan area, including a key stretch of U.S. 101 that was brought to a standstill along the border of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

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In this photo released by Santa Barbara County Fire Department, members of the Long Beach Fire Department Swift Water Rescue Team check equipment while staged at Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara, Calif., Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. (Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP)

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for about 700 homes in sections of Los Angeles County that burned last month in the biggest wildfire on record in California.

The mudslides were set off by a storm that walloped much of the state with damaging winds and thunderstorms. Downtown San Francisco had a record 3.15 inches of rain on Monday, smashing the old mark of 2.36 inches set in 1872.

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Rushing rainwater fills the Los Angeles river near downtown Los Angeles on Dec. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
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In this photo taken through a glass window provided by Santa Barbara County Fire Department, members of the Santa Barbara Area Regional Task Force discuss plans while staged at Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara, Calif., Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. (Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP)
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Bill Susel, 77, removes debris from a gully in back of his home on Spring Trail in Kagel Canyon, in preparation for expected heavy rains later tonight, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. (Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via AP)
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In this photo provided by Santa Barbara County Fire Department, a flash flood area sign is posted, as evacuations have been issued for several fire-ravaged communities in Santa Barbara, Calif., Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. (Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP)
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In this photo taken through a glass window, released by Santa Barbara County Fire Department, people fill up sandbags under the rain in Santa Barbara, Calif., Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. (Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP)
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Rainwater flows down Alverstone Avenue in Ventura, Calif., Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. (Anthony Plascencia/The Ventura County Star via AP)

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