Frustrations, tragedy mount for California mudslide town


Frustrations and dark discoveries mounted for a California town ravaged by a deadly and destructive mudslide.

Most of the people of Montecito, a town usually known for its serenity and luxury, were under orders to stay out of town as gas and power were expected to be shut off Saturday for repairs.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown on Thursday expanded what was known as the public safety exclusion zone to incorporate most of the town. That meant even those who had stayed behind would have to leave and those who entered the zone would be subject to arrest.

“It is a little frustrating,” said Sarah Ettman, whose home was undamaged and whose section of town still had gas and electricity. “It’s martial law here, basically.”

However, with most utilities about to be cut off and sewage running into the nearby creek, she decided to heed the order to leave.

“I mean you’re losing all your basic health and sanitation services,” she said. “When those go down, you have to leave.”

It was another difficult turn for those living in the Southern California town that has been subject to repeated evacuation orders in recent weeks, first because of a monster wildfire last month,…



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