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Montecito Mudslide First Responders

$775 of $1,000 goal

Raised by 16 people in 11 months
First the ask. My first hand account of the mudslide is below.

I am part of a committee that started after the Thomas  Fire but before the Montecito Mudslide that was planning a fundraiser for the first responders that worked tirelessly to save our community from fire. It's morphed into so much more after the mudslides. On February 25th we are having a fundraiser where all proceeds from donations and sponsorships will help Santa Barbara's Fire, Police, and Sheriff Departments purchase equipment they desperately need but that are not in their budgets. They are going to need to replenish their materials and supplies used over the last 6 weeks fighting not one but two natural disasters. There have been over 2,000 search and rescue personal with dogs working around the clock to give families closure, the firefighters and law enforcement officers have been working 24 hour shifts and sleeping on the ground. We intend to show our gratitude by helping them get the things they need to be even more effective next time. If you'd like to contribute I've set up this gofundme page.

We were not in the mandatory evacuation zone and thought we were safe. 

At 4am on Tuesday morning, at my wife's childhood home where we live with her mother, 5 weeks after our community was devastated due to the largest fire in California history, it rained over 1/2 an inch in 5 minutes. After the fire, for which we were evacuated for 3 weeks, there was no vegetation holding back the mud and debri. We were woken up by emergency alerts on our phones at 3:55 am-ish and looked outside to see the sky lit up and glowing red. I quickly put on my boots and just like many other people, who were later reported missing, went outside to investigate. What I didn't know then was a 30 ft wall of water had severed a gas pipe and one of our neighbors about a 1/4 mile upstream from us had lost their house in the resulting explosion. Luckily they lived by jumping out a second story window but were severely burned and injured. As I was standing in our driveway, 20 ft from the creek that runs by our house, I heard a rumbling. It got more intense and the ground started to shake. The night had become day with the fire and about 50 yards away I finally saw the wall of water bearing down on me and our home. There isn't an accurate way to describe it other than the last thing I saw before I turned to run was a 200 year old oak tree being ripped from the ground like a blade of grass and being lifted 30 ft in the air before being consumed in the mass. There is a video on my instagram where you can see about 2 minutes after this moment when our driveway was flooding and mother nature was laughing at the 200 sand bags I had put up to protect our property. If you look in the top left hand part of the frame you can see the creek, which is normally a dry creek bed that is about 20 ft deep, flowing like a class 5 rapid well above the banks.


I've never been so scared in my life as I turned to run. We were lucky, so far 19 others were not and many many more are missing. Although our property, cars and garages are buried in 3-5 feet of mud and debris, our home survived intact. Hundreds of other properties suffered catastrophic damage. House size boulders, full grown oaks and eucalyptus trees, along with entire homes and cars hurdled down the mountain like missles. Entire streets and neighborhoods were wiped from the map. Because of the location of our home and the topography of the creek we had 5 of the missing wash onto our property and the one directly adjacent to us. There were over 100 search and rescue on and around our property alone with both cadaver and avalanche dogs. They did find one person alive which was so uplifting to watch as they lifted him out by helicopter. 


We were stuck for 5 days and considering an attempt to walk out. By sheer luck one of our neighbors had and lent me a bobcat tractor. With the help of some of our neighbors and a local contractor we were able to dig our cars out in just under a day and drive out. As of yesterday we are safe and secure in a friends home and are still trying to get back a feeling of normalcy and begin the long healing process. We are so thankful that we have our lives but are devastated by the loss of our friends and neighbors that my wife's family has known for 20 years in this small community. As I drove out the thing that was the most devastating was not the destruction. It was seeing the inside contents of our neighbors homes. Family pictures, mattresses, furniture and toys were strewn about and knowing that they came from a house that no longer exists was almost too much.


A small silver lining though. When we were digging out the driveway we uncovered someone's very large red eared slider pet tortoise that had been stuck in the mud for 5 days. My wife cleaned her up and gave hers some food. She's happily now with the local animal shelter waiting to be reunited with her family or be returned to us if that's not possible. At the time we did not know she was a she and named her Thomas.

Search and Rescue Outside our kitchen window
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The contents of many of our neighbor's destroyed homes was everywhere
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Our Driveway

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$775 of $1,000 goal

Raised by 16 people in 11 months
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$100
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10 months ago
$30
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10 months ago
$35
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10 months ago
ML
$100
Marcella Laddon
11 months ago
$20
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11 months ago
$20
Kristina McDermott
11 months ago
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$50
Denis Schrier
11 months ago
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$100
Chris Salomone
11 months ago
$100
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11 months ago
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11 months ago
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