Close friend confirms Peter Fleurat among dead in Montecito flas - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Close friend confirms Peter Fleurat among dead in Montecito flash flood

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UPDATE (2:30 p.m.) - Family friends of Peter Fleurat say his body was found at about 11 a.m. Tuesday, just hours after the flash flood swept through Montecito. 

Fleurant's body was carried from his home on Hot Springs Road to Olive Mill Road where it was recovered by emergency workers. 

Family and friends of Fleurat were notified of his death Wednesday evening. 

Friends and family of 73-year-old Montecito resident Peter Fleurat are in mourning Thursday after learning his life was claimed in Tuesday's mudslide. 

Fleurat's longtime friend Eliot Seal spoke with KSBY over the phone and confirmed his passing. 

Seal says Fleurat and his life partner Ralph "Lalo" Barajas were asleep in their bed at 3:30 a.m. when they woke up to water filling their home. 

Fleurat and Barajas reportedly climbed onto their bathroom vanity to escape the rising water.

"Peter told Lalo to hold onto something," Seal said. 

Barajas was rescued with no major injuries and taken to Cottage Hospital where he later woke up. 

"I spoke to Lalo and he said the last thing he remembers is the world spinning all around him and then he woke up at Santa Barbara Cottage," said Seal. "It sounded like he must have traveled 300 feet or more." 

Barajas immediately began searching for his partner Peter Fleurat. 

Seal says Fleurat's sister-in-law went floor by floor in Cottage Hospital looking for him to no avail. 

Wednesday afternoon, Barajas learned Fleurat was at the Santa Barbara County Coroner's Office. 

Seal says it is unclear whether Fleurat ever went to Cottage Hospital or if his body was discovered by rescue crews. 

"A lot of information is missing," Seal said. 

Juli Miller, another friend of Fleurat, wrote on Facebook: "With a very heavy heart, our kind, creative friend with an unforgettable laugh has left us. Thank you all for sharing and especially to Cynthia for finding the most recent information for us. Hug your loved ones and stay in contact with people you adore. You never know when it will be too late." 

In a previous post by Miller she said Barajas and Fleurat's Hot Springs Road home was knocked off the foundation by the mudslide. 

Fleurat's partner Ralph Barajas' is the owner of Rose Cafe in Santa Barbara. 

The restaurant posted on Facebook late Wednesday saying they would remain open, "keeping Lalo's pride and joy going while he tries to cope with this tragic loss." 

Fleurat and Barajas had been together for nearly 20 years. 

Flearat had been a resident of Montecito since the 1970s, after moving from his childhood home in upstate New York. 

He studied nursing at Santa Barbara City College and worked as an end-of-life caretaker.

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