MONTECITO (CBSLA) — Celebrities are making sure to thank the crews helping dig Montecito out from a deadly mudslide.
Ellen DeGeneres stopped to thank a California Highway Patrol officer working a road closure Monday in the Montecito area. She also took a picture with the officer, which was posted to the agency’s Twitter page.
The mudslide that devastated the wealthy coastal enclave of Montecito killed at least 21, and left two others missing, including a 2-year-old girl. It also forced the closure of Highway 101 in Montecito, cutting off Southern California’s access to the Central California coastal communities for two weeks.
Oprah posted her thanks on Instagram, where she put a photo showing Highway 101 immediately after the mudslide next to one of the cleaned up and reopened freeway.
“All hands on the Highway and thru the streets of Montecito that got this done. @CaltransD5. You ALL are Awesome. And we the People appreciate your Herculean, exhausting work, round the clock for the past 12 days,” she wrote.
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Thank you for restoring the 101! First responders , Santa Barbara fire and Sheriff depts. All law enforcement and firefighters from surrounding areas. Heavy equipment operators. Construction crews. All hands on the Highway and thru the streets of Montecito that got this done. @CaltransD5. You ALL are Awesome. And we the People appreciate your Herculean, exhausting work, round the clock for the past 12 days. #mudslides #805strong #101open
Last week, Jeff Bridges spoke to Cal Office of Emergency Services officials about surviving the mudslide, while doling out hugs to workers. The “Big Lebowski” actor said the mudslide gave him a flashback to the Northridge earthquake.
“The house started to shake like an earthquake, and I heard my wife screaming, and coming out of the bedroom holding the dog, and boom, here comes the mud and debris,” Bridges said.
After taking refuge in the highest point of their home, the couple ran to their front yard at the sound of a helicopter. They were ultimately airlifted to safety.
“It reminded me of doing stunts in movies,” a bearded, long-haired Bridges said. As he stood in his front yard, wearing muddy rubber fireman boots, heavy machinery and piles of mud and debris could be seen behind him.