Home / World News / From Oprah to the insurance man, Montecito residents reel from devastation

From Oprah to the insurance man, Montecito residents reel from devastation

From Oprah Winfrey to less well-known names, residents of the Montecito area shared stories of the deadly mudslides and gave each other support and perspective.

The mudslides killed at least 15 people, and firefighters were still trying to rescue dozens trapped in canyons above the city.

Along Eleven Oaks Lane, Kevin Hujing, 27, and David Cradduck, 66, were out Wednesday morning, shovels in hand — trying to make a dent in the shin-high mud that took over their street.

Cradduck has lived in his home for 34 years and said he’s never seen anything like this. “I think all of us have learned our lessons on this one. We were all bad children and ignored the warning,” he said.

There seemed to be a weariness after the fire evacuations.

“We were all tired of it,” he said. “Now here we are, shovels in hand, trying to get our vehicles out.

“Mother Nature came back and dealt us a big blow, but it’s our fault. We should have heeded the warning.”

Ron Lloyd biked a couple of miles to the office where he works along Coast Village Road to get escrow files he needed. As he went inside, workers outside used bulldozers and shovels to clear mud along the street.

A tow truck took away a wrecked vehicle.

“This is a double whammy,” said Lloyd, who is manager of Fidelity National Title and Chicago Title of Santa Barbara. “First the fire comes through and brought firemen from all over doing the work to save houses, which they did — they saved hundreds of houses. To have this happen so shortly after all their hard work, it’s devastating. Not only for the people that have lost their lives and lost their houses, but for all the rescue people who did all this hard work to save these houses and to see their work apparently be lost by this flood and the damage that it’s caused.”

Lloyd said he’s talked to some firefighters about the mud that swept through and destroyed homes they’d fought to protect.

“It’s almost like they feel like they did it in vain. It’s sad. There this sad feeling,” he said.

As he left with a bag full of escrow files, he watched the workers continue clearing mud.

“Now the people who should have gone out are calling for help and they’re pulling people off of this,” he said. “Heed the warning, and they didn’t. If there’s anything people can learn — don’t be so arrogant, don’t be so selfish, don’t be so ignorant.”

Montecito’s most famous resident, Oprah Winfrey, offered prayers Tuesday to her neighbors affected by the powerful rainstorm that sent mud and debris flowing through neighborhoods recently under siege by wildfire.

In an Instagram post, the media mogul said she woke up to a blazing gas fire and then found shin-deep mud in her backyard.

The post included video of her trudging through the debris, before she pans up to show that the “house in the back is gone.”

“What a day! Praying for our community again in Santa Barbara,” she wrote.

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