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For La Conchita Residents, Washington Mudslide Evokes Painful Memories Of 2005 Tragedy

LA CONCHITA ( — The Washington State mudslide is bringing back painful memories of Southern California's 2005 La Conchita disaster in Ventura County.

More than nine years after a massive landslide killed 10 people and left 36 homes damaged or destroyed, the mound of dirt and debris still sits in the same place.

On January 5th 2005, the hills above the coastal Santa Barbara town crumbled, pushing an enormous mound of dirt and debris directly into homes. Residents said the slide took about 15 seconds, offering residents no time to run.

"This is the way it's going to be forever, I guess, with houses half down. You know, sit there and remind us about what's going on," said Larry McDonald, who is reminded of the tragedy every time he steps outside his front door.

McDonald told KCAL9's Jeff Nguyen coverage of the landslide in Washington has been difficult to watch because of the vivid memories it evokes. The wreckage of neighbors' homes sit uninhabited, now condemned properties.

Geologists say the bluffs in La Conchita could give way again in the future.

Ernie Garcia's house now sits directly beside one of the condemned properties.

"When it gets dry this summer, this is all going to be a fire hazard, and how much does it take to leap this small street?" McDonald said.

The county fire department now has the uninhabited homes on a weed abatement list. In the coming months, owners of the vacant properties will receive notices advising them to clear the vegetation or get a bill for the removal.

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