CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Man barely escapes as mudslide crashes into ho - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Man barely escapes as mudslide crashes into home

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MONTECITO, Calif. (AP) - People in Montecito had counted themselves lucky last month after the biggest wildfire in California history spared the town. But it was the fire that led to the mudslide, by burning away vegetation.
 
"We totally thought we were out of the woods," said Jennifer Markham, whose home escaped damage in both disasters. "I was frozen yesterday morning thinking, 'This is a million times worse than that fire ever was.'"
 
Only an estimated 10 to 15 percent of residents fled when ordered and much of the damage occurred where evacuations were voluntary.
 
Marco Farrell, a real estate agent, cited "evacuation fatigue" as his reason not to leave - a decision he wouldn't make next time. He woke to the sound of pounding rain early Tuesday and went outside to investigate.
 
He was two blocks from home when he heard a rumble that he realized was the mudslide he feared.
 
"I ran as fast I could and yelled, 'Flash flood!' as I passed neighbors' homes," he said.
 
Farrell warned his parents inside, and within a minute, a boulder plowed through the kitchen door. The mud flow went through the home and burst through a backdoor.
 
Farrell planned to float his elderly parents to a hillside on a surfboard, but it was unnecessary. The mud never got above their thighs and after about an hour of huddling in a hallway, he led his folks and dog outside where a passing firetruck took them to safety.
 
The flow was so powerful it swept several homes off their foundations, crushed others and wrapped cars around trees. At least two unrecognizably mangled cars were carried like driftwood all the way to the beach, where they were partly covered in seaweed.
 
A 30-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 101 linking Ventura and Santa Barbara was still covered in heavy debris and not expected to reopen until Monday. Because of the closure, boats were used to ferry some employees to Cottage hospital.
 
Another storm-related death was reported in Northern California, where a man was killed when his car was apparently struck by falling rocks in a landslide Tuesday evening in Napa County.
 
___
 
Myers reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writers John Antczak, Michael Balsamo, Frank Baker and Brian Melley in Los Angeles and Alina Hartounian in Phoenix contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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