At least 15 people were killed and homes were swept from their foundations on Tuesday as heavy rain sent mud and boulders 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 mud to pull a muck-covered 14-year-old girl out of the ruins of a home in Montecito, north-west of Los Angeles, where she had been trapped for hours. She was taken away on a stretcher.
Most deaths were believed to have occurred in Montecito, a wealthy enclave of about 9,000 people north-west of Los Angeles that is home to such celebrities as Oprah Winfrey, Rob Lowe and Ellen DeGeneres, said Santa Barbara County spokesman David Villalobos. Winfrey’s home survived the storm and slides. At least 25 people were injured.