20 people killed in Montecito-area mudslides - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

20 people killed in Montecito-area mudslides

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UPDATE (Monday 7:30 a.m.) - Officials report the death toll in Montecito following last week's mudslides remains at 20. There are still four people missing. 

There will not be a press conference Monday afternoon, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

There will be a community meeting Tuesday at 4 p.m. at La Cumbre Junior High School. 

UPDATE (8 p.m.) -  The American Red Cross is continuing to provide care and support to hundreds of residents impacted by Tuesday's landslide. The Red Cross shelter located at Santa Barbara City College (721 Cliff Drive) is open and available to anyone seeking relief.

Volunteers at the shelter are providing around the clock support, including safe lodging, hot meals, health services, and more.

If you would like to donate click here.

Since evacuation orders were issued on Monday, the local Red Cross has served more than 1,000 meals and snacks, distributed more than 800 relief items such as clean up kits, and provided nearly 150 health and mental health contacts.

The Red Cross will continue to serve the community for as long as there is a need.

UPDATE (4:30 p.m.) - Sheriff Bill Brown announced at a press conference this afternoon that crews have officially transitioned from a search and rescue mode to search and recovery. 

Sheriff Brown said the decision to switch to recovery mode was not made lightly. 

Four people are still missing. 

They are: 

  • John “Jack” Cantin - 17 years old
  • Faviola Benitez Calderon - 28 years old
  • Lydia Sutthithepa - 2 years old
  • John “Jack” Keating - 53 years old

The majority of Montecito remain under mandatory evacuation and closed to normal traffic because crews need unimpeded access. 

CALTRANS spokesperson Jim Shivers said his agency is getting close to having a reopening date for Highway 101. 

Shivers said in the next 24 hours, CALTRANS hopes to have an idea of when the highway can reopen. 

A vigil for the mudslide victims will begin at 5 p.m. at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Gardens. 

You can watch the vigil live on KSBY. 

UPDATE (3:30 p.m.) - Officials have released new information about the damage to homes and structures following Tuesday's deadly mudslides in Montecito. 

CALFIRE damage inspection teams have been assessing the disaster area since Tuesday. 

They have completed about a third of their assessments of homes and structures damaged in the storm. 

As of Saturday, 73 homes and 12 outbuildings were found destroyed. 

About 60 homes, seven commercial buildings and 20 outbuildings suffered major damage from the mudslide. 

Officials estimate it will take a month of more to make repairs to those dwellings. 

Another 60 homes, six commercial buildings and nine smaller structures have minor mudflow damage. 

Buildings with minor damage should be able to be restored within one month, according to county leaders. 

Officials also say 40 homes, five commercial buildings and five other structures suffered minimal damage in the extreme weather event. 

In total, nearly 300 homes, commercial structures and outbuildings were impacted by the mudslides. 

The County of Santa Barbara will open a local recovery and assistance center this Wednesday at Calvary Chapel, 1 N. Calle Cesar Chavez, Santa Barbara. 

Affected residents can go to the center to receive resources and services to help them begin to recover and rebuild. 

UPDATE (11:56 a.m.) - The 20th person to be killed in the mudslides has been identified as Pinit Sutthithepa, 30. He was found dead in the area of Hot Springs Road near Olive Mill Road during search and recovery efforts Saturday. Sutthithepa's son, Peerawat Sutthithepa, 6, and his father-in-law Richard Loring Taylor, 79, were also found dead. Sutthithepa's two-year-old daughter, Lydia Sutthithepa, is still missing.

UPDATE (11:30 a.m.) - There are three bottled water distribution centers for people without working water or living in the boil water advisory zone. Montecito residents can go to:

  • Montecito Fire Station #2 at 2300 Sycamore Canyon Road and Cold Springs Road
  • Shopping center at south west corner of East Valley Road and San Isidro Road
  • Summerland Post Office at 2245 Lillie Avenue

All three locations will be open between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily.

UPDATE (10 a.m.) - Mandatory evacuations remain in place for:

  • North of Highway 192 to the U.S. Forest Service Boundary
  • East of Cold Springs Road to Toro Canyon Road on the west
  • South of Highway 192 to the ocean
  • East of Sycamore Canyon Road, Hot Springs Road, Oak Road, Olive Mill to Ortega Ridge Road on the west.

Evacuation warnings remain in place for:

  • South of Highway 192 east of Summit Road, Hot Springs Road and Channel Drive
  • South of Highway 192 west of Sycamore Canyon Road, Hot Springs Road and Olive Mill Road

As of Sunday morning, 20 people have been found dead and four people are still considered missing.

UPDATE (9 a.m.) - Crews have begun damage assessment for the Montecito area. They said approximately 65 residences have been found destroyed and another 462 damaged. Crews said that number is likely to change as crews continue to make progress. As of Sunday morning, 20 people have been killed and four are considered missing.

UPDATE (7 a.m.) - Authorities announced another victim was found Saturday night. The death toll is now at 20 people. There are still four people reported missing. 6,000 homes and businesses are reportedly without power in the Montecito area and many areas of Montecito are without potable water and sanitary services.

UPDATE (4 p.m.) - Authorities say another victim was found on Saturday morning. 25-year-old Morgan Corey was found east of Olive Mill Road. The death toll is now at 19 people.

UPDATE (7 p.m.) - The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has identified two additional missing persons cases, bringing the total to seven missing people following the mudslides in Montecito. They are: 

  • Delbert Weltzin, 62, who officials describe as a transient who frequents the railroad tracks near Olive Mill.
  • John “Jack” Keating, 53, a transient who frequents the Montecito riverbed area, Santa Barbara authorities say. 

The Sheriff's Office noted that a separate Montecito resident, also named John Keating, was seriously injured during the slides and is in the hospital. The John Keating listed above is a different person.

UPDATE (6 p.m.) - The governor has issued an executive order to continue expediting recovery efforts in mudslide- and Thomas Fire-affected areas.

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued an executive order to further assist recovery efforts in Southern California related to the Thomas Fire and subsequent mudslides. The order helps ensure there's the staffing and resources needed to continue to respond to the ongoing disaster and expedite debris removal.

Governor Brown yesterday announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency granted the state's request to expand the recently approved Presidential Major Disaster Declaration in the areas affected by the wildfires to include damage caused by flooding and mudslides.

UPDATE (4:10 p.m.) - Sheriff Bill Brown says another victim was located Friday, raising the death toll to 18. Another five people are currently reported missing.

UPDATE (3:30 p.m.) - Santa Barbara Cottage says one person remains in critical condition following Tuesday's early-morning mudslide. Eleven of the 28 initial patients remain hospitalized. 

UPDATE (2:50 p.m.) - County emergency officials will hold a press conference Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. to update the public with the latest information about the mudslides. Click here to watch a livestream of that briefing.

Firefighters now say only five people are still missing following Tuesday's mudslide in Montecito.

As of 6 a.m. Friday, incident commanders reduced the number of people missing from 43 to five. The number of people killed remains at 17.

According to Santa Barbara City Fire Public Information Officer Amber Anderson, the number of missing persons will likely continue to fluctuate.

"The Sheriff's Department is continually receiving reports of missing persons and is actively investigating each report," said Anderson. "As many reports reach a rapid and successful conclusion, others require additional investigation."

More personnel have arrived on scene to help with the search and recovery efforts. Approximately 1,250 firefighters, Coast Guardsmen, utility workers, Red Cross volunteers and other personnel are assisting with the search and cleanup.

Incident commanders said 65 homes have been destroyed, and 462 have been damaged.

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