Five People Missing After California Mudslides; Thomas Fire Finally Out

Death toll from California mudslides rises to 19

California mudslide death toll rises to 19

Montecito, Calif. • Frustrations and dark discoveries mounted for a California town ravaged by a deadly and destructive mudslide.

Other crews toiled to clean up the massive wreckage of the slide and to fix power, water and gas lines. That meant even those who had stayed behind would have to leave and those who entered the zone would be subject to arrest.

Several houses were destroyed, and residents were unaccounted for in neighborhoods hard to reach because of downed trees and power lines, he said. "It's martial law here, basically".

As their names and those of 14 other victims were released Thursday, crews kept digging through the muck and rubble looking for more people.

"We'll just be here", Abbe Shaw said as she walked back to their house. "When those go down, you have to leave".

Terrifying wildfires in the area forced evacuations in December, and the mudslides struck just two weeks after people returned.

Cia Monroe said her family was lucky their home wasn't ruined and they were all healthy and safe, though her daughter lost one of her best friends. "He said so many times that after his passing, 'Make sure everyone prays for my soul.' We will, Roy!"

"The main target, you would swear, was [their] house", said Weimer, 59, a software engineer. "Financially that's a burden".

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Drones, military vehicles and search dogs have been brought in to help with rescue and clean-up efforts.

Crews are working day and night to clear the road, but as they pump water away, more flows in. The freeway was closed between Highway 150 and Milpas. When he returned home Wednesday to search the area, her whereabouts were uncertain. Five people remain missing: Faviola Calderon, 28; John "Jack" Cantin, 17; John "Jack" Keating, 53; Lydia Sutthithepa, 2; and Pinit Sutthithepa, 30.

Elms said crews are still trying to fight their way through roadways made inaccessible by mudflow in the hopes of locating more people. It was the first death discovered since Wednesday.

Most residents of mudslide-ravaged Montecito were under orders to clear out Friday as the search for victims dragged on and crews labored to clean up the muck and fix power, water and gas lines.

"One of the things that I want to talk about is you know, we've had these awful fires all over California and one of the hardest hit areas is where I live in Montecito".

Brown said Thursday that they have a list of 48 missing individuals, some of which are active cases and some are from calls to the Emergency Operations Center and Family Assistance Center. He said those who perished range in age from three to 89 years old."There are four juveniles on the list", he said.

Walls of mud and debris cascaded down hillsides stripped of trees and shrubs by last month's wildfires, including the Thomas Fire, the largest blaze in the state's history. Associated Press Writer Amanda Lee Myers contributed from Los Angeles and Rogers reported from Los Angeles.

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