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Several Mt. Baldy Homes ‘Likely Uninhabitable’ After Deadly Storm

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MOUNT BALDY (CBSLA.com) — Fire officials said Monday six to eight homes were badly damaged and likely uninhabitable due to a weekend storm in San Bernardino County.

The American Red Cross was assisting those who were displaced by nearly four inches of rainfall and mudslides that occurred over the eastern San Gabriel Mountains Sunday evening.

Authorities said the worst of the rain damage occurred near the Mt. Baldy and Forest Falls communities.

“At first we thought we were going to die we really did we were looking at each other like what do we do and we thought we we going to die,” resident Lauren McCormack said. “There was so much mud and rocks going by, it was like a river.”

A number of cars were stuck in the thick mud overnight, and were not removed until shortly before 4 p.m. on Monday. Next to the vehicles, 250 children from a summer camp were sent home, due to the mudslides’ damage and the threat of boulder slides.

“On this side of the camp, of these three camp centers, this is the one that is damaged,” Camp President Gary Wingerd said. “We have no water here. We also have no electricity.”

Two dogs were killed in the storms.

In Mt. Baldy, residents saw five inches of rain over the span of about two hours.

“It was raining really, torrential hard, and (there was) thunder and lightning, and there was just rain and water everywhere,” resident Robin Riggle said.

Several cars were moved down a creek bed, many of which were smashed into trees by the strong currents.

Some residents returned to homes there were completely flooded, and now look less for ways to clean up, and more for ways in which to salvage.

“Our laundry room has two and a half feet of water in it, and it’s just destroyed,” resident Tisha Cate said. “And then there’s rocks about five feet deep, by our laundry room, that’s buried between the rock wall and the garage itself.”

Other homes had rubble stacked up to roof level.

While residents reportedly have home insurance, but say that the insurance companies tell them they will not be paying for the damages, citing “natural earth movement”.

El Segundo resident Joo Hwan Lee, 48, was identified as the man killed after his Toyota Prius washed into a nearby river. Several other people had to be rescued from rising flood waters.

Joo leaves behind a wife and family, according to his neighbor.

Red Cross volunteers were at the local community center providing roughly 100 residents and emergency workers breakfast and comfort as they await roads to be cleared and access to their homes.

The flooding caused road damage that resulted in the closure of the following state highways:

  • Interstate 10 (I-10) eastbound at Eagle Mountain (about 4 miles west of Desert Center –post mile 103) has one lane open for an unknown duration. An emergency contract is in
    place to repair the washed out #2 lane
  • SR 62 is closed from Mary Ann Lane (post mile 36) to Vidal Junction (post mile 125)
  • Route 95 is closed from Blythe to Vidal Junction
  • SR 177 is closed entirely from post mile 0 to 27

RELATED STORY: 1 Dead, Several Rescued In Weather-Related Incidents

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