Firefighters in Montecito, California, were able to rescue a
14-year-old girl trapped inside her mangled home on Tuesday
following a deadly
mudslide that claimed the lives of at least five
people, according to NBC News.
Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason
said that Lauren Cantin was discovered by a team of
firefighters and rescue dogs who traced her muffled
screams to her house, which had been swept away by
See photos of the disaster:
Responders spent six hours in the pounding rain digging Cantin
out of her “tangled mess of a house” using the jaws
of life and other tools, Eliason said.
“To be able to have her come out safely and as unscathed as she
was, it was pretty phenomenal,” said Andy Rupp, a
Montecito Fire Protection District firefighter.
Among those surprised by the astounding rescue was Cantin
herself. “I thought I was dead there for a minute,” the
shaken-up teen, who was caked in mud, told her rescuers as she
was carried away on a stretcher.
Tuesday’s mudslide tore through Southern California after the
region, which was recently scorched by wildfires, received over
five inches of rain, causing the over-saturated hillsides
to send massive
runoff rushing onto Highway 101 below.
Multiple homes were reportedly ripped from their foundations by
the powerful mudslide, while other homes in the area burned
down due to a gas line explosion related
to the storm.
About 21,000 people in the wealthy Montecito neighborhood were
given mandatory evacuation orders by Monday afternoon,
according to the Associated Press.
County spokeswoman Amber Anderson said that only 200 of the
1,200 residents contacted in person had left their homes by
Santa Barbara County authorities report that there is currently
a backlog of 75 calls for rescue or evacuation from the area.