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Montecito man videotapes head of deadly mudflow

Fast-moving mud covered Olive Mill Rd. in minutes

Deadly mudflow caught on tape

MONTECITO, Calif. - Marco Farrell has lived in his Olive Mill Rd. home since 1980 and is no stranger to damaging storms and wildfire.

But the images and sounds he heard Tuesday morning, in his words, put him in "moth to flame" mode.

Farrell shot video of one head of the deadly, early morning mud flow as it began snaking down toward his house on the 100 block of Olive Mill Rd., just up from Coast Village Rd. 

Farrell grabbed his camera, yelled for his parents to start packing, and shot what he could of the devastating slide. 

Moments before, Farrell said he up the street, drawn to flames from a gas line break at a house nearby when he heard a very low rumble.

"Just the biggest and scariest horror monster you've ever dreamed," Farrell said. "And worse."

He quickly realized it was the sound of rolling boulders and debris. 

"I had a sheriff pass me doing about 50 mph and he just yelled, 'Go, go Go!!!' as loud as he could."

Two days later, Farrell and a NewsChannel 3 crew hiked back to his longtime home.

"You realize what's really important, what's replacable."

A carpet of watery mud, a foot deep, filled the entire house. 

"Interestingly enough, the farther back I got into the house, the mud went down to about knee-level," Farrell said. "And it will be more salvageable than I thought. I see a glimmer of hope here."

Through it all, Farrell said they will make this ravaged house "home" again.

"I found my keys and drivers license, there's a glimmer of hope. There's goodness in today."


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