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San Bernardino County announces storm-related death from historic snowfall

Crews clear 90% of the roads in San Bernardino County mountains
Crews clear 90% of the roads in San Bernardino County mountains 02:59

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department announced that at least one person died because of the severe storm that brought a historic amount of snowfall to the area. 

Another 10 people died during the storm but were not storm-related since they were already under medical care, according to the department. 

The residents continued to reel from the disastrous situation in the San Bernardino mountains which prompted a response from multiple agencies such as the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as well as the state's national guard. 

Residents digging out in Crestline, CA.
CRESTLINE, CA - MARCH 6, 2023: Crews being removing piles of snow after recent storms dropped more than 100 inches of snow in the San Bernardino Mountains on March 6, 2023 in Crestline, California. Gina Ferazzi

While the local government seemed to struggle to rescue people besieged in the snow, it appears that the influx of resources from volunteers, state government and military have helped the relief efforts. According to the county, 90% of the roads in the area have been cleared of the several feet of snow, with many areas seeing 100% of their roads cleared.

The county's fire officials said it currently has about 800 personnel up in the mountains working to get the communities back to form. 

"We have crews aggressively going after reported natural gas leaks, along with Southern California Gas Company," said San Bernardino County Fire Department Operation Chief Jim Topoleski.

The San Bernardino County Fire asked residents to clear snow from the gas meters around their homes to prevent structure fires from sparking after a few blazes erupted in the weeks following the storm. Additionally, the Valley of Enchantment Fire Department has established a food distribution table outside of their station. Deputies also went door-to-door to deliver boxes of food to people still tuck in the snow. 

But after being stranded for weeks, mountain residents took matters into their own hands to help their neighbors. 

"I've been getting more texts than I can count," said Crestline resident Christopher Woodbridge.

"There's like 150 calls up in Cedarpines Park," added Valley of Enchantment resident Zachary Pardee. 

Both are some of the unsung heroes of this unprecedented snowstorm helping their neighbors feel a little safer during this emergency.

"A lot of people don't feel safe right now," said Pardee. 

The pair rented a loader last week and have worked up to 18 hours a day to help wherever they can.

"Moving everybody's berms, digging cars out, clearing roads, clearing paths, helping people get out of their homes," said Woodbridge as he listed the numerous tasks they've tackled.

As the snow melts and as crews clear the roads, the damage from the storm became more evident — especially in Crestline. 

The National Guard arrives to Crestline, flying over Goodwin & Sons Market roof collapse.

A handful of businesses had massive holes in the roofs caused by the weight of the snow and falling trees. Most notably, Crestline suffered a major loss when the sole grocery store in town, Goodwin & Sons Market, had its entire roof collapse after a massive amount of snow piled on top of the building. 

"Our only source of food was Goodwins Market, whose roof collapsed. So now, we can't walk to get food for ourselves, or seniors and short-term renters who have no food. We are pooling our food to keep them fed," wrote resident Greg Plooy last week.

Many residents said they've seen more help arriving this week. 

"I think the county's doing the best they can it's just hard because there's nowhere to put the snow," said Pardee.

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