Santa Barbara- S County

Montecito mudslide victims get chance to recover lost items

Montecito Center viewing

MONTECITO, Calif. - Property owners and families affected by the January mudslide will get a chance to view unclaimed items found in the debris on Saturday.  

"The goal of this entire event is to provide a private, safe space that they can view the items and see what belongs to them and what doesn't," said Christina Bean, a paper conservator working with 805 Conservation, a non-profit. 

Bean has been working diligently to remove mud and mold from photos and paper documents brought in by volunteer groups to the Montecito Center.

Those groups include, Habitat for Humanity, The Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade and the Mud Angels. 

Many sentimental objects and photos that were found in the mud have already been successfully returned to their owners.

"We found wallets, jewelry. We recently returned a watch to somebody this weekend which was really special," said Bucket Brigade Team Captain Amber Rouleau. 

But, hundreds of other items don't have any identifying information and are waiting to be claimed. 

The hope is that by putting all of the items out at once, at one location, owners will be able to identify what belongs to them, and then take their belongings home.  

Counselors will be on hand for emotional support. 

"It brings up emotions. It brings up memories. Our team is here to listen and to provide techniques for dealing with anxiety," said Jennifer Bruell with California Hope 805, a non-profit providing crisis counseling. 

There is a wide range of items to be identified including photos, documents, stuffed animals, sporting equipment and jewelry. 

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office is holding numerous items that were turned in and will provide a catalog of photos for people to look at during Saturday's event. 

The viewing event takes place Saturday, May 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Montecito Center at 1285 Coast Village Circle. 

The viewing is for homeowners and family members only and is closed to the public. 


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