At least eight people have died in weather-related incidents in Santa Barbara County, authorities said Tuesday, as the Southland’s first major winter storm triggered flooding and mudflows that forced the closure of the 101 Freeway in the Thomas Fire burn area.
Five of the fatalities occurred in and around Montecito, according to a county sheriff’s spokesperson. Santa Barbara County Fire Department officials confirmed three more fatalities in the early afternoon, bringing the total up to eight.
Details of the circumstances were not immediately disclosed. In addition to the fatalities, 25 people were reported to be injured.
Powerful mudslides destroyed homes in the area as rescue crews rushed to search the rubble. The mud was reported to be 5 feet deep in places.
Firefighters slogged through waist-high mud to pull a muck-covered 14-year-old girl out of the ruins of a home in Montecito, where she had been trapped for hours. She was taken away on a stretcher…..more here