Mudslides in Southern California mountains cause havoc, kill one

Posted Aug. 04, 2014, at 3:24 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 04, 2014, at 6:50 p.m.

Mudslides and flash floods that raged through mountains in Southern California killed one person and cut off communities overnight, leaving rescuers clearing blocked roads and residents cleaning up Monday.

David Wert, a spokesman for San Bernardino County, said about 70 to 100 tourists were unable to leave the area of Forest Falls because of debris and downed power lines and spent the night at a community center. Wert said the American Red Cross was responding Monday with water and food.

San Bernardino County Fire Department Capt. Kyle Hauducoeur said it would take up to three days for workers using bulldozers and other heavy equipment to clear roads around Forest Falls enough for residents and traffic to move freely.

Hauducoeur said one person was found dead inside a vehicle that had been washed off a Mount Baldy road, roughly 50 miles northeast of Los Angeles, during the heavy rains.

Local media identified him as Joo Hwan Lee, 48, of El Segundo.

No other injuries were reported, despite the quick-moving waters stranding as many as 2,500 people overnight in Forest Falls and Oak Glen, a couple of miles to the southwest.

Television images showed cars in parking lots up to their axles in thick, gray mud.

County emergency responders rescued one woman before a mudslide destroyed her home in Mount Baldy and damaged four other nearby buildings, Hauducoeur said.

Among those stranded were some 500 children and chaperones, who arrived at a Forest Falls campground earlier Sunday but could not leave after roads were covered with mud, rocks, trees and other debris. The San Bernardino County Fire Department posted pictures online of stranded campers receiving meals and shelter at the Forest Falls Community Center.

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