In San Bernardino mountains, residents hit by devastating mudslide fear more to come
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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — On an old dirt path that leads from the side of a mountain to the road, a dozen families have lived for years in rough, tin-roofed houses.
Only a few months ago, they were preparing to bury their sons and daughters.
Since February, these people have watched as a wall of mud the size of a school bus crashed down from above.
They have watched as rescue crews struggle to clean up the area. Still, their houses are buried in mud. They have watched as firefighters from all over the country have brought in heavy equipment to pry the houses from the hillside. They have asked them to stay.
“This is going to be hell,” said Daniel, a 26-year-old father of two who lives in one of the houses, his clothes strewn on the floor and one of his children missing.
“This is one big mess and it’s our fault,” he said.
The houses in the San Bernardino Valley have been ravaged in the past by mudslides, which killed more than 60 people, injured dozens more and destroyed buildings, including a federal courthouse.
And once again, they now face a crisis, this time at the foot of an active volcano, one with a major lava threat.
The danger this time is no less. Lava from the San Jacinto volcano threatens homes and buildings in this part of the state, according to a report released by the National Weather Service earlier this week.
“It’s going to send all these mudslides that have been going past here down one side of the mountain, and we’re not sure if there will be enough mud to go on the bottom,” said David Van Tassel, director of the Geologic Hazards Program in