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Red-Tagged Mount Baldy Residents Face Decision To Rebuild Or Relocate After Storms

MOUNT BALDY ( — A number of Mount Baldy residents whose properties were devastated by the weekend's floods and mudslides now face the difficult decision of whether to leave their homes behind.

Heavy rain throughout the mountain communities over the weekend prompted a number of thick, fast-moving flash floods, along with mudslides, which damaged structures and vehicles.

Mount Baldy resident Eric Olson is one of a number of locals whose homes were devastated by the mudslides to the point that it was red-tagged, meaning he is not allowed to go back in.

"It's pretty devastating; mud is a very powerful force," Olson said. "Right now, I'm just trying to make some plans to see how I'm going to go forward."

Olson's neighbor, whose home rests just below his, also saw an intense, rapid buildup of mud, rocks and debris during the storms.

"She's a little older, and she's not in good health," neighbor Lauren McCormack said. "She'd just had a heart attack, before all of this happened."

McCormack, too, is among the residents who face the decision of whether to rebuild or relocate.

"I'm going to go and stay down the hill for a little while," McCormack said. "I don't know what I'm going to do. I might move back into the house, or I may not."

Some piles of mud and rocks built up to reach the level of some of the homes' roofs.

Volunteers from around the area arrived at Mount Baldy on Tuesday to assist in the cleanup efforts.

Insurance companies refused to pay out for many residents, citing that the damage was caused by "natural earth movement."

A full recovery is expected to take weeks or possibly months.

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