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Some Montecito families return to see mudslide-damaged homes - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Some Montecito families return to see mudslide-damaged homes

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Search crews fanned out again Thursday across areas of Montecito still covered in several feet of mud. 
 
The Montecito Oaks neighborhood is almost unrecognizable. Mud covers just about every inch. 
 
"We had three of our children with us at the time that we heard the freight train type of sound of rocks and water and debris coming down," said Montecito resident Carrie Tighe. 
 
Tighe has lived here for more than 17 years. She and her family were evacuated during the Thomas Fire. The mudslide has uprooted them once again. 
 
"That moment was absolutely terrifying and seeing neighbors rescued in kayaks and on top of their roofs, you are in a moment where you think this is not really happening," Tighe said. 
 
She says she and her family are among the lucky ones. 
 
"The first 24 hours was filled with just huge heartache as I learned of people that I know that have not survived the flood," Tighe continued. 
 
On Thursday, she returned home for the first time since the mudslide to get clothes, jewelry and to check on her two cats. One is missing. 
 
"It is just hard to imagine what force there was to carry such items and people down to our neighborhood," Tighe added. 

Meanwhile, search crews are going home-to-home. 
 
"We are looking for any victims," said Nick Hernandez, Orange County Fire Authority. 
 
In an area hit the hardest, Tighe's home has water and mud damage but still stands. 
 
"It's hard to imagine what we're going to have to do to clean up" she concluded. 

Cleanup will be going on for weeks. Crews are using GPS and thermal imaging cameras to look for body heat in the debris. 
 
Dogs are also being used to help with search efforts. Crews are on 12-hour shifts. 

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